Why You Should Ask for a Raise Before Looking for a New Job
By Roger Lear*
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
Totally Loving What You Do
I was scrolling through TV channels last night and came across a documentary with a title that I had to watch. It was called “Bipolar Rock N Roller” and is the story of Mauro Rapollo, who is an announcer for the WWE (wrestling).
The show was highlighting his career and struggles with being diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder, which showed how real his struggles have been in people not understanding him, or his actions, when he was up or down.
But there were two things that stood out for me and made his story compelling:
One: his love and passion for his work. He related how it was his dream to be an announcer but had always been told he was nothing and would never be anything. He was bullied by classmates when younger, and then adults once he started aging. But he never lost that passion and fought through to get to the status he has today. When he said “I absolutely love what I do,” you can feel that love, which is something all who are working should emulate and there is a lesson here.
Two: his quirkiness and, sometimes bizarre behavior, led to adulation from pro wrestling fans and led to his brand. Part of the segment was showing testimonials from fans, who stated that he was ‘the best announcer ever’ and that they loved his passion for the job, which led them to love wrestling more. It was so heartfelt to hear how lovingly people spoke of him, and not just fans but producers, as well. They said he was ‘the best’ at what he did. And there is a lesson her.
The lessons from this are to find your passion, and go after it; once you do, recognition of your expertise will be known and others will seek you out. Working off your passions will give you inner happiness and confidence as you work on your strengths and self-motivation. You will produce more results, which then will have people wanting to be around you, to hire you, and look at you as the go-to person. All of this leads to more opportunities, if you choose to take advantage of them.
I can tell you that probably my biggest passion is dance, which I’ve been doing from a small age. I used to compete, have been in a professional dance company and did a short stint at Disney. Lately, however, I’ve been into line dancing and go out at least twice a week. While I go for the joy I feel when I’m dancing, I have found that I have inspired many to also dance and it’s led to paid gigs in teaching others who really want to learn (tonight I’m teaching a couple for their wedding). I share this as it goes to the deeper level of passion which = influence and inspiration.
Think of people you follow, be that a movie star, singer, pro player, or other icon and why you do; it’s because you have been influenced by their passion and the results of them using their gift (s). Following your passion can have some risk to it, as others may block you or tell you that you can’t do whatever that is, which is what Mauro Rapollo heard throughout his life. But – he proved them wrong and you can, too.
To paraphrase what Rapollo said, the ‘struggle is real but worth it.’ Take your cue from him and go after your passion; it may not be in a large scale as he did but, if it’s in your business or your job, you will have more self-satisfaction and higher performance. Your days will be more enjoyable; in fact, you may eagerly look forward to them. Who wouldn’t love getting up every day with a smile on your face?
It was heartening to see that Mr. Rapollo has now expanded another passion of raising awareness of mental illness through motivational speaking, showing that life challenges don’t have to define you or keep you down, and that you can have a great life. It’s all what you make it. So, I’m taking my cue from Mr. Rapollo – you?
If you’re struggling with finding your passion, or ways to use them, then let’s talk. You don’t have to struggle any longer: https://cyscoaching.com
By Guest Blogger: Barbara Seifert, Ph. D., CPC
With the closing of Toy R Us, along with others who are shutting down low-performing stores to stay afloat (Winn Dixie, Footlocker, Best Buy, Sear, Gap, to name a few), it raises the flag of the number of those who will now join the ranks of the unemployed. While some will be fettered to other locations, the majority will not. Many of these are already under-employed to add insult to injury.
Considering the tragedy of these closings – thank you technology – the question to you is: Will you know what to do if your company closed? For those of you who said ‘Yes’ – major kudos to you!
For those of you who said ‘No,’ all hope is not lost. There is time to begin to make plans for what you would do if this were to happen to you. In all likelihood, it will at some point in your life. I have been the ‘victim’ of this, and not just once. I worked for a hospital, who underwent 4 changes, and another healthcare facility that was closing. I was the last person ‘alive,’ who had to close the whole operations, when the company folded.
So I know the devastation that can occur, especially if you are the sole breadwinner (which I was). There will be a roller coaster of emotions you will go through but then it becomes about getting yourself back out there and finding ways to earn money and get your life back on track.
This week will be focused on creating your Plan B and steps you can take to be in the pile of those who keep their jobs, that is if the company doesn’t fold. Location will play a part; the Hard Rock, here in Orlando is moving their headquarters down South – they offered their employees the opportunity to move. However, the majority said no so, if they were not offered another job, they’re out.
I think the first step is to recognize that it will be a blow, no matter the circumstance. How you deal with this depends on your outlook and attitude, which can either be a benefit or a hindrance in moving to your next steps. Then it will be time for career exploration (will you stay in this line of work or not), conducting a job search, dusting up the resume and interview skills, and focusing on how you will be successful in the new position. Start today to identify your network and connections.
These are what is involved in creating your plan, which should start NOW. Don’t wait until you lose a job to begin working on each of these. You don’t want to be hit with surprises. Having a plan will help you to feel ‘safer’ and more assured for any issues that may arise and you will be ahead of the pack. You can sleep better and put more effort into your current job (hint: be on the ‘stay’ pile).
Today is for idea creation on each of the areas mentioned earlier. Be solution-focused, not problem-focused. Take control of your career now. While not all is in your control, you can still take charge of what happens in your career. Don’t delay, start today!
If you’d like to learn more on managing your career and how to get the most out of yourself, and your people, we’re here to serve. We have our Fableader program where we will:
- Look at your goals, challenges you are facing, and opportunities you might be missing.
- Uncover any hidden problems that may be sabotaging your desired results
- Create an action plan and implement it together so that you finally get the results you have been looking for but were unable to find.
- Address challenges that come up along the way, leaving you feeling renewed, re-energized, and inspired to take action and get faster results
What to Leave Out of Your Resume
by Catherine Jewell, author of “New Résumé, New Career”
Once upon a time in the ’70s, I saw a résumé with a full-length photo. It was for a vibrant, 20-something account executive in advertising. I envied her the chutzpah to include her photo. It made the résumé come alive. You could see her eagerness and professional demeanor.
That was then. So much has changed. Employers want to avoid any chance of discrimination about age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, marital and parental status, and ethnicity. The less you say on the résumé, the more likely you make the cut. Each word, phrase and sentence needs to be carefully selected to prove that you are the right person for the job. Specifically, here are some things to take off your résumé:
1. Graduation dates
Include your degree, major (if it is relevant) and the institution. But take off the date. Age discrimination is a concern for many people looking for work. Avoid tempting reviewers to do the math to discover your age.
2. Irrelevant experience
If you are applying for sales and you have substantial experience in IT project management, downplay the irrelevant experience and create new achievement statements that support your experience with customers. Make your non-sales experience sound more like sales. Shorten job entries that don’t support your sales message.
3. Jobs in the dim, dark past
The rule of thumb is to include your last 10 to 15 years of experience. If you need to prove expertise you gained long ago, you might use the title “Other Relevant Experience” and describe your achievements, without the dates of employment. Baby boomers should be careful not to include 30 years of experience. Why give hiring managers a clue you are over 50 until they meet you in person?
4. Personal section
Résumés of the past often included personal information such as marital status, family members and even church membership. All of that information is illegal to collect, so don’t include it. Also eliminate references to hobbies, clubs and political views. A “Community Work” section can show your leadership skills, but stick with noncontroversial organizations such as Rotary, Lions, the Chamber of Commerce and recognized nonprofits.
5. Gaps in history
Eliminate gaps in your work history by filling in with short, truthful statements. “Homemaker sabbatical” will explain a five-year work hiatus and allow the interviewer to focus on your history. You can also fill gaps with part-time jobs, direct sales positions or consulting projects.
These may not be on your résumé, but once a potential employer has your full name they might as well be. Polish all social networking profiles and remove any unprofessional or embarrassing photos. Ask your friends to clean up social networking profiles for you, too. If you are gray or balding, you might consider removing your photo during your job search.
Your résumé is designed to present the professional you. Write it with a job description in mind, avoiding any details that might detract from your single-minded pursuit of that job.
Why Reading Your Resume and Contacting You for a Job is Driving Me Crazy
By Roger Lear, President, OrlandoJobs.com
I just hired four new people over the last month. This is great news. The bad news is over five hundred people applied to these positions and only four got hired. Out of 523 resumes; we phone screened 44, interviewed 23, and hired 4.
After reviewing all 523 resumes, I am able to tell you why job seekers didn’t get to the interview stage (which really is the main goal of the resume after all). The majority of the resumes were “unqualified” because I was unable to decipher what kind of skill sets the job seeker has that are relevant to the job I am hiring for. Sounds like that should be simple; but it is not. If I have to “decipher” anything on a resume, I can just move to the next one since I have plenty of inventory. What is sad is that I know there are some good candidates in this batch who were one resume writer away from getting an interview. If I’m thinking that, so are most employers and it is the main reason so many struggle in their job search.
“Your resume and how you respond to an interested employer has to be spot on if you want a great job. Unfortunately, out of over 500 resumes, only a handful got the memo. Hopefully we can help.”
Your resume is your golden ticket to the interview. Here is a list of resume and communication errors from this group of 523 resumes that drives me crazy:
- Different FONT styles and sizes in resume. If you start with Calibri (11), stick with Calibri (11) throughout the entire resume.
- Include your address in the header of your resume. If you don’t want the job, don’t put your address. Employers want to know where you live.
- Do not highlight your resume key points in color. It looks horrible.
- Next to phone number, no need to add the word “cell phone”. Everyone has a cell phone today.
- Don’t put references on the resume. Spend more time on making sure your skills match the job you are applying to.
- If attaching a resume document (.pdf or .docx) to an online application, name your resume file using your first and last name. Your resume document file name (SAVE AS) should be “John Smith Accounting Resume 2017”. Your resume file name is very important and should contain your name and a main skill set keyword. Also looks professional.
- Your cover letter sucks. 62 of the 523 resumes had cover letters that mentioned some other employer’s job, not mine. This just goes to show that many of you struggle with your job search because you apply to so many jobs, you forget to change your cover letter. You will be automatically disqualified if you do this.
- Voice mail. If you are in a job search, make sure you have a nice voice mail message. Also, make sure you check your voice mail and return calls promptly. I left so many messages for people and didn’t get many calls in return. I know it’s not cool to listen to voice mails (or return them), but for the better jobs out there internal recruiters leave messages all the time.
- Answering your phone during a job search. If you get a call and don’t recognize the number, please answer it professionally during a job search. Believe it or not, this is your FIRST impression with a possible employer. While most of my calls ended up in voicemail, those who did answer the phone did it in a way that made me feel like a bill collector. Once they established I was an employer, the tone of the phone call changed to normal. Start with normal in a job search.
- Know what jobs you applied for. If I hear “what company are you with again...” by another job seeker, I am going to lose my mind. When an employer calls, you should be expecting their call and know what position you applied to at their company.
- Don’t add your picture to the resume just yet. HR people still don’t like this.
Hope this all makes sense. This is real information and so many of you are making a few of these errors during your job search. For the best jobs, you can’t afford to do this. Get a professional resume writer!
Guest Blogger: Roger Lear, President, Orlando Jobs
View more local jobs online at https://www.orlandojobs.com
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
Central Florida Employment Council
When did we become a society that values youth over experience? Just because someone has a few gray hairs, does that mean they are out of touch? Unfortunately, this is the growing mindset of much of today’s youth. Ageism is rampant in our society, especially in the working world. We cast off our elders as obsolete fools who cannot keep up with the times and advancing technologies. They are characterized as antiquated, unproductive citizens with nothing of worth to contribute. With the Baby Boomer Generation moving into their late fifties and early-to-mid-sixties, an increasingly large number of our population is feeling the effects of ageism.
Cutbacks and layoffs have become commonplace following the recession in 2009. Who are the first to go? Typically, the oldest members of the company. Senior workers are let go because they normally have the highest salaries and best benefits. In other words, the company saves the most money by getting rid of the most expensive employees regardless of their value. These workers are often forced into early retirement and are considered to be too old to work, but are, in reality, too young to retire. This leads to a buildup of massive debts where they are spending a good portion of their retirement while trying to survive unemployment. For businesses, these cutbacks are just a short-term fix for a long-term problem that create even more problems for the economy.
Ageism is most notably a factor when those laid-off begin searching for new employment. Most employers have a certain age in mind for the positions they have advertised. You can fall on either side of the spectrum, too young and inexperienced or too old and too expensive.
Your resume is often a dead giveaway of your age; all anyone has to do is look at your graduation date and they instantly have a rough estimate of your age. How do you get around this?
It’s simple. Scale back your resume. Start by removing dates; graduation dates are not essential. You can also limit your work experience to the last ten to fifteen years. Once you have garnered decades of experience, it is not pertinent to include jobs you had right out of college. If you are worried about this being seen as dishonest, you can even rename this section on your resume to state, “Recent Work Experience.” Let’s say that you have some very impressive experience that is relevant to the position you are applying for, but it falls outside the ten to fifteen year scope; generate another section on your resume for “Additional Experience,” again, without including dates.
Similarly, if computer skills are not listed on your resume, you’ll end up dating yourself. Consider enrolling in an online or night computer course to learn how to use such programs as PowerPoint, Excel, Word, and Outlook. Also, remember that with the prevalence of social media, privacy is a thing of the past and you will be “googled” by potential employers. Setup a LinkedIn profile reflecting your resume with a professional, modern looking picture. You want to show employers that you are up-to-date with today’s technology and not resistant of it.
With younger jobseekers fresh out of college, you may need to become more open to the idea of accepting lower wages than you once had to. Applicants with less experience will agree to lower wages so to compete, you may have to do the same. State on your resume that your pay requirements are “open.” Once you are offered the position, then it is time to negotiate.
Tweaking your resume should help to a least get you in the running for a face-to-face interview. Once you get your foot in the door, you’ll have the opportunity to sell yourself.
Remember that some, not all, hiring managers have narrow-minded opinions of older jobseekers. These include being set in their ways, difficult to train, less productive, frail, and technologically inept. So make a point to emphasize traits most valued in older workers, like vast experience, loyalty, excellent work ethic, reliability, exceptional decision making abilities, and self-confidence. In business, it is all about Return on Investment. You are the investment, so make sure the employer knows exactly what he/she will gain in hiring you.
As we have evolved to live longer, healthier, more productive lives, regrettably, our concept of age has not changed along with it. Until our minds catch up with our physiological state, we will never be able to overcome this bias. Instead, older jobseekers are forced to use creative tactics to overcome and find employment.
So, as bleak as it may seem out there in the job market, don’t give up just yet. Try out some of these tips and tricks—you might be surprised at the results.
CFEC Guest Blogger
Jessica Mattison is a freelance writer in Cary, NC. for JobFinderUSA.com
By Jessica Mattison
Make Looking For A Job Your Full Time
By Caroline Levchuck
Looking for a job is a challenge -- especially right now. And out-of-work job seekers face another challenge all their own: Managing their time wisely and resisting the temptations found at home, such as sleeping, watching television or simply slacking off.
Poor time management leads to poor job search results. So to keep your search moving, you need to treat it like a job itself.
Be Your Own Boss
Think you're unemployed? Think again. You've got a full-time job: Your job search. You've just become your own boss and your job is to land your next paid position.
Looking for work is serious work, so it's important to give it all the attention it deserves. First, decide what hours you'll devote to your search and commit to keeping that schedule just as though you were reporting to a "real" job.
Then, try tailoring your schedule even more. Allot time each day to specific tasks, such as networking, responding to job ads, and researching companies. Doing so will help you avoid distractions and stay on track throughout the day.
An organized job search can be crucial to your success.
Start with your office space. Even if you don't have an actual office, designate your work area, complete with computer, phone and filing space if you can. Every time you sit in your "office," you'll feel like you're on the job.
Next, create a system to keep track of your leads, the job ads to which you've responded and the companies you're interested in. Having this information at your fingertips is especially helpful if you've tailored your resume or cover letter to suit a certain position. When a recruiter calls, you'll know instantly and precisely how to respond.
The ultimate goal is to find the job of your dreams.
But until that happens -- and to help it happen -- set small weekly goals for yourself. Agree to send out a certain number of resumes each week. Promise to make five follow-up phone calls a week. Vow to set up at least one interview -- informational or otherwise -- every week.
Whatever your goals are, make sure they're realistic. That way, you'll be more likely to keep them. Write them down and keep the list where you can see it. Cross items off as you go for a feeling of instant accomplishment.
Also, if you need some support, ask for it. Find a friend in a similar situation and share your success at fulfilling your weekly job search goals.
Take a Day Off
All work and no job can make anyone cranky.
Take a day off. In fact, take two. You've earned it. And you might not get the chance again once you land your next job. See a movie. Sleep in. Visit an old friend. Clean out your closets. Or just relax.
You might even consider limiting your job search to four days a week -- or even three. Use the rest of your time to do the things you never had time to do. Exercise on a regular basis. Volunteer in your community. Spend more time with your family.
Do whatever makes you feel good because a positive outlook will sustain you as you're hard at work looking for work.
Caroline Levchuck has written an excellent article. If you apply these ideas to your job search you will get results!
Brand of You
by Renita Hunt, Guest Blogger
Dress for Success Greater Orlando President
Your mind is the center of creating your brand through your internal image! It’s not just about what is on the outside but what is on the inside. Your mind is your wealth ticket to creating your personal brand image.
Do you know you are a brand just like Apple, Google, and McDonald’s? Of course you are! It is imperative that you live and thrive in the core values of your brand everyday. How do I craft my own personal brand you might ask? Here are 3 awesome ways to be on your way to building a successful personal brand:
Knowing Your Why: Being aware of your life’s purpose sets the standard for the direction you want your life to go. Finding your why is being clear on what your dreams are for your professional self. Is your purpose and dream to lead people, but your current position is admin assistant? Sometimes your current situation is not aligned with your purpose but you have the power to change. Build your personal brand by volunteering or freelancing opportunities that are aligned with your purpose until it can become your full time gig. To find your “WHY” spend time to understand:
– Mission-What do I stand for?
– Passion-What do I love to do?
– Expertise-What do I do really well?
Becoming a Subject Expert: Now you know your purpose. It is time to expand your knowledge on the subject by learning all you can on a subject. We live in a time where information is at a touch of button. Stay current on trends, industry buzzwords, and network with thought leaders in your industry. After you increase your knowledge, showcase it and become an expert by:
– Starting a blog or guest blogging
– Writing for a company newsletter
– Writing for a nonprofit newsletter
– Volunteer for local speaking engagements
Investing in your Mind: Never stop learning is a common quote we hear people say about personal growth but many people don’t understand how to put it into action. Develop a yearly learning plan. Set a portion of funds each month to invest in attending conferences, buying books, meeting with a career coach, and attending workshops. Don't wait for your employer to make the investment for you; if it is value to your brand invest in it for the future. Other ways to invest in mind:
– Join local industry associations and attend national and regional meetings
– Obtain an accountability partner to help you achieve your goals and craft your brand
– Invest in additional education online or offline if needed to take your brand to the next level
So now you know three important keys to build and grow your personal brand. Always live and work so your personal brand can thrive after you have left the room. Next time on the blog, I will explore how to grow your brand on the outside with Dressing for Success.
About Renita Hunt:
Renita Hunt is a marketing communications consultant and motivational speaker. Renita Hunt is also the Board President of Dress for Success Greater Orlando. Renita has been with the organization for over 4 years and has held such roles as: Personal Shopper, Event Director, Vice President, and now President. She has been instrumental on re-launching the organization’s career development series, Next Level to Success Internship program, networking efforts, and individual donor giving.
Renita has a 16- year professional background in marketing communications. Through the course of her career, Renita has worked with such brands as: Home Depot, Ford, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s just to name a few. Renita is extremely passionate about giving back, women empowerment, diversity and inclusion, and all things fashion. In addition to Dress for Success, Renita is apart of many professional boards such as: Central Florida Employment Council, National Black MBA Association, and Orlando Museum of Art-Council of 101.
Renita holds a MBA from University of Phoenix and a BA in Public Relations from Clark Atlanta University.
It’s summer and the glowing sun outside coupled with the ocean breeze remind me of renewal and introspection. Are you with me?
New eating habits, a good workout regimen, and new favorite restaurant. New career may be? Many individuals I come in to contact with contemplate their career. They are satisfied with their existing role, and they are successful, their organization is successful and they have a sturdy title, relatively large staff and job security. Yet may be that’s the problem. Too much satisfaction is the enemy of innovation and growth. They tell me they have an aching within that desires change. They don’t feel challenged anymore. That feeling of confidence is making them feel almost bored. They yearn for excitement, intimidation and that adrenalin rush of sink or swim.
I tell them, your instincts are telling you its time to swim, so swim. To them and to you, who are even considering the possibility of a career change, or position change for that matter, I offer the following:
1. Are you ready to hit the waves?
Start by weighing the risks. Know that there always will be that. Family, your identity, and financial responsibilities will always be there, but so will fear. The fear of change and the fear of the unknown. At some point you would have to push away the fear and swim with the waves. Once you accept that reality, your mind and heart will unite and you will be ready to make the proper recourse to weight the real costs and benefits for your decision, without the common denominator of fear.
2. Go for the plunge!
At some point the weighting would need to stop. The decision must be made. Plan your course with plan B’s along the way and start what will undoubtedly feel like an uphill or upstream swim.
3. Enroll an Audience and Cheerleaders
You ‘re going to need all the emotional support you can get. Set yourself up to be around supportive, calm and clear people. Your network will help you get the position you want, but your support system is the one that will get you through this phase of the game. The AA mentality applies here. The buddy system is meant to create accountability. When you share what you are doing with an invested person, you are more likely to persevere. We all like to achieve and part of achievement is the reinforcements we get along the way. Stay on course and celebrate small wins.
4. Assess the Course and foresee Obstacles
Get a clear assessment of your knowledge, skills, abilities and network. It doesn’t mean you can’t expand on them, but you want to be realistic in setting your goals. Many people assume that because they like a type of job, they have to bend backwards to fit themselves within its walls. Think about industry, and organization type, the everyday nuances, and the type of people you want to be working with, the key players and whom you are already connected to. When I do career assessments with my clients, we do a lot of work together. It is deep. Often times, they themselves are shocked at how far they were from their vision, by the time we complete and interpret all the quantitative and qualitative data. The research is imperative. Let me say that again: the research is imperative. The reality is we are all born with certain traits that make us who we are, are family and upbringing solidify them as well. So I always recommend going after something you know you are good and knowledgeable at, rather than going after something you think you like. The other neat thing is that we get attracted to people whom we can relate to, so your network of people will serve you better being that you have built them through “connections” rather than ambiguity. At least that’s the network that we need to be making. Not random and without follow-up. Challenge is good, complication not so much.
5. Get on the Diving Board and Jump.
I like the analogy of the diving board because when you get on a diving board, it means three things: 1. You are making the conscious effort to jump and you know it’s going to be a high jump, 2. You are letting the world know you are jumping, and 3. When you are up in the air, there is no way going back. When you started this journey, you had internal conversations about it. May be you discussed it with a significant other, a colleague or a family member. But your paradigm is still the same. You are in comfort zone. You get the paycheck and the boss still assumes you will be at the next monthly meeting. If you stop here, you don’t have to fear. You are not committed to anything. You didn’t loose anything, but you also didn’t gain anything. Half the battle is the mental decision, but the other half is get on that diving board. You have to make the decision irrevocable. Our brains are trained to form habits. We are creatures of repetition. So unless the walls of the maze are reset, our brains will command us to repeat the past and to not rock the boat. Pull the anchor and let the ship sail where it needs to and don’t look back.
Fear is a defense mechanism to protect us in life. But it’s also there to motivate us and propel us forward. I am not saying live life in fear. But I am saying don’t expect fear to ever disappear. It’s through fear that your interests get peaked and you search for that truth and possibility. Fight fear and it will haunt you, look at it in the eye and it will guide you. Life is a raft, not a ship. Life of Pi was the perfect demonstration of that. Ships have navigation system, propellers, and radars. Your career is one aspect of your life, and just like any other, demands determination, patience and exploration. There are no guarantees, you have to do your due diligence, and take a leap of faith. Let the waves take you where they may.
Author and CFEC guest blogger:
By Guest Blooger: Jessica Mattison, JobFinderUSA
Getting the Most Out of a Career Fair
The effectiveness of a career fair is often debated. Some paint them as a huge waste of time, while others swear by them. If you simply show up and expect to land a job based strictly upon your mere presence and winning personality, you’ll fall into the first group. Like most things in life, job fairs take hard work and a lot of preparation. If you are willing to put forth the effort, a career fair can become a truly valuable job finding tool.
Think of a career fair as one big interview. Just as you would if you were being called into a company’s office, you need to be prepared and do your research. Most often, a list of companies that will be in attendance can be obtained. Take this list and research any and all companies you are interested in. Look at their company website and social media pages. Make a list of notes and rank each company based upon which you would like to work for most. Your time is limited at a career fair and you want to make sure you visit with the right companies.
Take this time to customize your resume and cover letter to match with the culture of each company you plan to visit. Also, have some generic ones on hand in case you come across a company that you had not originally planned for. You might even want to have your own business cards printed. They should include your name, desired position, and contact information. They don’t need to be anything fancy, just make sure it looks clean and professional.
Compiling a list of questions you might want to ask each business is also a good idea. Include some blanket questions that can be asked of any industry as well as some more specific ones for companies you have taken the time to research.
You should also dress the part. Make sure you look neat, clean, and professional with your clothes pressed and stain-free. Your best bet is to wear a dress suit of some kind. As a general rule, it is better to be overdressed than underdressed.
While you’re there, don’t just network with the recruiters on hand, but also with your fellow job seekers. You will most likely be stuck waiting in more than a few lines, so take advantage of that time to exchange information—those business cards would come in handy here as well.
Following up is just as important after a job fair as it is after an interview. To make your life easier, ask each recruiter you meet for a business card. This way you’ll have their name, position, and all contact information at your fingertips; no worries about a bad memory or writing down something incorrectly. In return, give them one of your own cards to remember you.
Remember to send thank you notes or emails to each of the representatives you met with whether you liked their company or not. It is important to make good contacts with as many people as possible—you never know when you might run into them again.
After your initial contact thanking the recruiter, you’ll want to continue to follow up on the position you are seeking. You need to be persistent, but not annoying—there is a fine line. You want the employer to know how interested you are in the position, but you don’t want to come across as desperate and overly anxious.
Generally, no matter the position or form of contact, try to be overly polite and humble. As annoyed as you may be that your phone calls and/or emails have gone unanswered, don’t take out your frustrations on your potential employer. Stay away from statements like, “I still have not heard from you” or “you ignored my previous email.” Maintaining a polite tone throughout your email or phone message will keep the person interested, not angry.
Career fairs can be tough and some might not be as great as others, but generally, they’re a good time investment as long as you’re prepared to put the work in.
Article Reference URL: http://www.jobfinderusa.com/article/getting-the-most-out-of-a-career-fair/