Career Planning

Laws of the Job Jungle – Part 1

Don’t wait until you are starving to try eating the bugs 2008 was a watershed year in the job market. After the fall out of the financial crisis the balance of power shifted firmly toward the employer. Employees are no longer a precious commodity to be wooed, won and cherished. Employees are often seen as replaceable, disposable and a drain on company resources. Surprisingly, this seems to be holding true for employees that have difficult to find skills. In short – it’s a jungle out there! We don’t have to kill to survive, but we had better be adaptable and resourceful.  So, you are out of a job and thrust into the jungle. You are on the hunt for a nice juicy job. Hopefully, one that is as meaty and tasty as the one you used to have. You take a look around and see some tasty morsels on various job boards. “Oh”, you say to yourself, “This is not going to be difficult, there are plenty of tasty, satisfying opportunities for me”. You go after a few of them.   Sharpening your resume and cover letters into tools that you think will slice through any obstacle and be deadly enough to slay the competition. Your pack is full of provisions, more than enough to see you through to the next big conquest. One after another, you shoot your weapons out after tasty looking jobs. One after another, the jobs disperse like mirages. Were they real? They looked real. Where did they go? Never mind there are plenty of provisions in your pack. You keep going, convinced that one of these jobs is bound to be real. 6 months later, you have not yet landed a […]

Teaneck Job Club Starting Soon!

Here at Career Selections we’ve noticed that almost all of our career planning clients are currently working.  It’s extremely rewarding helping people switch and further their careers, but we want a way to reach people who are unemployed who need our help too but can’t necessarily afford it. Solution:  We have partnered with The Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County in Teaneck to start a small, free Job Club for unemployed people seeking career planning help. There are really only 2 criteria for membership of the Job Club:  you must be unemployed, and you must be actively looking for a job.  Space is limited and you must apply directly to Anne Wallman to join the club.  If you are interested, please contact Anne at anne@careerselections.com.  The Job Club will meet once a week in Teaneck starting at the end of January.

What is a B Corporation?

Have you heard of a “B” corporation? Maybe not, but it is an idea that is gaining traction.   The “B” stands for “Benefit”. A “B” corporation, of which there are currently more than 1,000 worldwide, is a corporation that is committed to being a “benefit” to all stakeholders. They are certified by the B Lab organization and they have to meet very strict standards of social, environmental and ethical impact.   You can find out more at: http://www.bcorporation.net   I often get people asking me how they can get a job that “makes a difference”. Sometimes this is challenging when their skills and experience don’t really lend themselves to the kind of “making a difference” jobs we generally think of. Well, working for a “B” corporation might be one way that people from every background can make a difference.   Personally, I wish more corporations would sign on to this idea. Especially the big companies! Without government oversight, our major corporations have been able to make obscene profits with little regard to the impact their business practices have on the world around them.   Of course, being a “B” corporation is a voluntary thing. However, if major corporations can see an advantage in signing on to the “B” corporation charter it could have positive effects worldwide.   If you are looking for a job, check out the list of “B” corporations. If top talent starts to express a preference for working for socially responsible companies –even the big companies will have to follow suit eventually!

What is Networking and why does it work?

So, I’ve posted a few times about networking and have had a few clients ask me to go into more detail about what I mean.  I think in most cases people think it is about “selling” themselves, or asking people for things. Actually, networking is more about giving than receiving if it is going to be successful.  It is a natural result of human interactions and happened even before we had the term “networking”. Here’s an example from rural Rhode Island (this story was told to me by a former colleague and is about her sister).  A young woman from a small town in Rhode Island where her family had lived for generations tried her hand working in NYC, but ultimately decided to return to her roots.  She didn’t have a college degree and job opportunities in her home town were few.  One job opened up in the office of the Town Clerk.  She wasn’t very well qualified for the position but knew that with a little time and training it would be a great job for her, so she applied for the job.  Now, this town had a very tight knit community of year-rounders and a much bigger Summer population when people occupied their vacation homes in the town.  The mother of this young lady was active in the town and was known by almost everyone.  She visited people when they were sick and had built up a small Avon business among the women of the town.  She was out and about one day when an acquaintance of hers that worked in the Town’s municipal building stopped to say “hello”.  While in conversation, the mother mentioned that her daughter had applied for a job in the […]

10 ways to get a jump on your New Year’s Job Seeking Resolutions

OK – so it’s not even Christmas yet and here I am talking about New Year’s resolutions. Sorry. It is one of my compulsions to plan early for everything and if you are a job seeker I think you should already be planning your New Year campaign. Here are my top 10 tips:  Many companies hire people in December to start in the New Year when they have an increased salary budget, so you should keep you activity levels high in December, you could snag an interview now for a job that starts in January! Prepare your marketing materials now so that you are raring to go on New Year job postings that you see. Be ruthless about your resume. Has it been working for you? Do you need to revamp it? What do your cover letters say about you? Are they positive enough? Do they help tell your story? If you are out of work and on a limited budget ask for job search gifts for the holidays – a session with a career planner, pay for a resume writer to help, a new business suit for interviews, training on a needed software program etc. Start networking now in your social circles. People are in the mood for giving right now, maybe they will be in the mood to give by helping you! Get with the times – if you don’t already have a strong social media presence, now is the time to get back in touch with family members, old friends and old work colleagues. People often use the holidays as a time to reconnect with people. Holiday parties can be a great way to network! The Holidays are a great time to […]

The Fatal Mistake Career Changers Make

In my first job after I graduated from University a training course I took told us that “The ultimate secret of success is: Do it now!”   In a busy, reactive work environment this was certainly true. However, now that I am in a position to advise people about furthering their careers, I find that the same advice can apply just as well.   The biggest mistake I have come across in my long recruitment career is that people hold on to the past so long that it hampers their ability to move forward.   Take a middle manager who has just been laid off in an industry that is contracting. He or she has been earning close to $100K and feels that what they need is a carbon copy job in the same industry at the same salary. Intellectually they may know that this is not realistic, yet they resist thinking of change right away and keep on looking for the un-findable job opening.   It often takes someone like this a year to accept they need to change industry, work for less money and adjust their life-style. At this point, they have blown through their savings, they have a huge hole in their work history and their morale is rock bottom.   If they had been willing to look at other situations right away they would now be one year further along a new career path, would not have spent all their savings and would look like a much more employable candidate if indeed a better opportunity opens up.   Delay is the worse thing you can do when laid off. I would advise that you get out and start doing something immediately, […]

Thanksgiving as a way of life

Much has been written about the power of gratitude, of giving thanks for what we have. Some even claim it is the secret of a happy life. There is a definition of gratitude in Psychology Today that claims “Studies show that we can deliberately cultivate gratitude, and can increase our well-being and happiness by doing so”.   After the Thanksgiving holiday last week, it got me thinking about gratitude and how it applies to our career planning.   Should we be “grateful” for a job that we hate? Should we be “grateful” when we are let go from a job we love? Are we “grateful” to be long-term unemployed? Well, no. However, we can look at other parts of our life with gratitude even if our situation is not ideal. We hate our job, but we can be grateful that the regular paycheck allows us to provide for ourselves and gives us time to look around for something better. We can be grateful that our spouse/family/friends are supportive even if we are out of work.   Gratitude allows us to put some perspective on our unhappiness. We can acknowledge what is bad in our lives, but be thankful for the things that are not bad.   Nobody’s career is all smooth sailing. We all hit roadblocks and make bad choices. Gratitude allows us to take the positives from the experience.

Making a Difference

Increasingly, I am being asked to help people find jobs that “make a difference” to the world. Some people have very specific ideas of how they want to make the world a better place and others need help to figure out how their skills, experience and personality can be used for the greater good. One thing that has not changed, unfortunately, is that those jobs that do the greatest good are often the worst paid. I think the assumption is that the people in those jobs work for rewards other than monetary ones. This fact has made me want to explore whether it is necessary to do without in order to do good. For example, I could make a case that Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and George Soros are able to do more good through their foundations than many thousands of underpaid non-profit and social work employees. However, by the same token, the super-wealthy are not going to be the ones actually serving food at the soup kitchen. As with most issues, there is not one right answer. Not everyone has the entrepreneurial drive to become one of the super-rich. In fact, few of us do. For the majority of us who can afford to give very little money to charity, we can offer something even more valuable – our time and effort. We may not want to accept the low wages that often accompanies doing good professionally, therefore, we might choose to offer our free time to help out. Sometimes, if we do not get much job satisfaction from our main source of employment, a volunteer opportunity can help to fill that void in our lives. The more volunteers the easier the work of […]

By |November 17th, 2014|Career Planning|0 Comments

Thinking out of the Box

Where will your next job opportunity come from? Maybe not from where you think.   Alternative careers can be viable alternatives for many people, but they are so used to thinking of themselves in one role that they don’t recognize opportunities when they are right in front of them.   Even if you are in a job right now, do this exercise: Imagine that your job (the entire industry even) became obsolete. What else could you do? Be wide ranging and as “pie in the sky” as you want to be. You may be surprised at some of the alternatives you can come up with. This could be a fun thing to do with your friends and family. Ask them what they could see you doing. What do you do that they love? Are you known for the holiday parties you put on every year? Are you the person that always brings the best dish to pot luck dinners? Are you the person that keeps in touch with people and organizes all the get-togethers? Are you the person that others turn to when they have problems? There may be ways to use these skills in a job – what kinds of jobs would they be? Have a brainstorming session.   From this point you can figure out what you would need to do to have a realistic chance to work in one of these jobs. Maybe you’d need to go to school, maybe you’d need to volunteer to get some relevant experience. You certainly would need to start networking with people that could help you.   What would your “out of the box” career be? Please comment and let me know!

Consistency is the key to job search success

After speaking to countless job seekers over the years, one thing is clear. Those with perseverance get new jobs faster. The ability to keep at it in the face of discouragement is key. While some people wallow in misery for a week after each job rejection, unable to bring themselves to send out another resume, others redouble their efforts and move on to new opportunities.   My advice is: no matter how disappointed you are, you must keep to your plan! If you have made a plan to send out 10 resumes per day and make 5 follow up calls/emails, you must do it even if you are feeling down. You must pretend to be upbeat, even if you are not and 9 times out of 10 you won’t have to pretend for long because the act of moving forward will get you into a better mood.   A healthy way to think about it is that every time you apply for a job your goal is to get an answer – yes, or no. Even though “yes” is the preferred response, a “no” gives you closure and allows you to move on to the next opportunity.   Realistically, you will get a lot of “no’s” on a job search, so the quicker you can recover from your disappointment the more effective your job search will be.   Personally, I use lists to keep me motivated. Each company I approach is put on a list and stays there until I hear back with a definite yes or no. My objective is to get the companies of the “maybe” list and into either the “yes” or “no” list.   What do you do to keep going? […]