Tag: job search

Knock-Knock: Let Technology In The Job Search Today

Posted on March 31st, by Jacqueline Clay in Career Advice, The Funny Side of HR. 1 Comment

Welcome to another edition of…

The Funny Side of HR:  From the Desk of a Woman of a Certain Age

Thank you for coming back to check on me “A Woman of a Certain Age”.  I hope that you are enjoying  my view of the evolution of all things HR including a hint of humor.  Please feel free to leave your comments.  I welcome your thoughts and your remembrances.

 

Last month, I discussed the job search process of yesteryear.  The process was what we today can call “manual”.  Everything was done on paper or with paper. Tons and tons of paper.  Job seekers searched via newspapers.  Companies advertised via newspapers.  The job search world was paper logged.  Agencies held job seekers captive.  They were the proverbial gatekeepers of many companies, holding the key to the door, that we felt potentially housed thousands of open jobs.  It was critical, therefore, to develop good, productive relationships with the Agencies to successfully navigate yourself into even a piece of a job.   We smiled and greeted the Agent with reverence (even after having been told to wait and wait and wait in their “waiting room”)  We waited  with frozen smiles because we did not want to do anything that would inhibit, limit, trim or slim our prospects in ingratiating ourselves to our Agent.  Agencies were in control.  The process reminded me of going to a club, where the guard at the door selected who could come in and who could not.

Most companies did have human resource or recruiting offices.  The test, though, was if you could locate them, if you could gain access, if you could find the direct number and if a “human” answered the phone.  If the stars and moon aligned and Jupiter was in its house, you were able to get in and fill out an application.  However, since you had no idea what opportunities were available, it was usually just that, you filled out an application and unbeknownst to you at the time, it went into the company Black Hole of Applications, never to be dug out again.  (Come on now, I can’t be the only person who has experienced this!)

Today, while some companies still use agencies, the tides have significantly turned.  Agencies now NEED  Candidates (the word “candidates” is capitalized to show the turn of power).  Companies have online applications.  Candidates now have a Santa Claus bag of options available for free.  They do not need agencies at the same level as in years past.  Technology has come to the rescue.

With that being said…let’s talk about the job search process of today…

 

  1. If you do not have a computer, you might as well say “game over”. You need to get one (desktop, laptop or even a tablet).  It is okay to have a “do it all, world of tomorrow,” Android phone.  However, you need a computer to produce the still required, still arduous, still annoying resume and cover letter and to make sure you can provide and retain up to date information.  (A printer with scan capabilities is also necessary…but first things first…get a computer).

 

  1. Yesteryear, there were no such things as websites. For the most part, the only way a company could  obtain  information on a candidate was to “wait and see”.  Today, we all have the worldwide web and candidates can use it to strengthen their professional acumen and advertise expertise and experience.  As a candidate, make sure you only incorporate information that will present you as professionally current and worthy of the type of employment you are seeking.  Remember, whatever you put on the web can and usually does, remain indefinitely.  Therefore, think twice…okay…three times before you put anything on the web that you wouldn’t want published on tv for all of your friends and family to see.

 

  1. Networking from the sofa. In-person networking is still one way to go, but not the only way, especially if you are on a budget.  You do not need to get off the couch, get dressed and attend some potentially boring, get-to-know you, lack luster, no guarantee event that you most often have to pay for and expend transportation dollars.  From the convenience of your home, while drinking a cup of coffee, you can make connections and develop professional relationships through a number of websites, i.e., LinkedIn.

 

  1. Application Process.  There is one aspect of the job search process that has gotten much more convoluted and tiresome.  That is the online application process.  Let’ say you have found a company or agency that “seems” to have a position available that meets your qualifications.  Rarely are there phone numbers to call (just like yesteryear).  Sometimes there may be a direct email address to which you can submit your resume.  However, most often, you need to complete an online application.  You click on the job.  You are connected to another site and have to click again.  You are connected to another part of the site.  You see no application.  So you search the site and after a while (can be anywhere from a minute to many minutes), you find the application.  You click APPLY.  What?!!  Now you need to create an account!  You enter the information requested and of course, decide on a password (that you quickly forget) and click GO.  Now you are asked a thesis amount of information, several pages.  I don’t know who developed these arduous, long, time draining pieces of technology.  In any case, since you are interested in the job and the company, you trudge on.    I recall completing one of these hour long thesis questionnaires and when I finally got to the last page and clicked SUBMIT, it would not go through!  The screen went blank and my only recourse was to start over!  Did I?  Absolutely not!   Even if you were able to seemingly successfully transmit your information (you never know for sure what happens at the other end), rarely is there a return piece of communication.  Now…where did all that information go?  Oh…yeah….the Bermuda Triangle of Computer Applications located near the Black Hole of Paper Applications (from yesteryear)

 

  1. Resumes and Cover Letters.  Again…another arduous, time consuming task, but by all accounts in the world of job searching, required (unless of course, your uncle owns a company and hires you).  If you are not fortunate enough to be an heir, heir-in-law or family friend/relative of a business owner, you need to get your resume together.  Resumes and cover letters are still your calling cards, but now one more element is included…“key words”.  Key words are words that hiring managers and agencies use to search their database for resumes.   These individuals no longer review each and every resume…they filter out resumes based on key words.  If your resume does not include the necessary words that relate to the job you are seeking, off your resume goes to the Black Hole of Resumes (closely associated with the Black Hole of Applications) .

 

  1. Dress for Success.  I can not tell you how much money I spent back in the day ensuring that my  dark skirt suit, white shirt and pearls  were perfect for the interviews.  Climbing the ladder dressed for success has turned into wallowing in costumes of “accept me as I am”. (Just my observations).  First impressions are sometimes lasting impressions, but some job candidates today, want individuality and expect companies to detour professionalism for individualism.  While I am all for a more casual working environment, I still believe that interviews are the opportunity to put your best foot forward and show respect for the business.  However, how can candidates show respect for the business when the interviewers lack the same.  Many companies have acquiesced into a much more casual environment…even during the interview.  Business casual is fine, but in some instances, there appears to be no boundaries.  In fact, I recently had an interview and did my best to “dress for success” (no pearls) and was astonished to see the mid level interviewer dressed in old jeans and sloppy shirt.  It really changed my impression of the organization.  However, when I left the interview, I saw another candidate dressed in jeans and a button down shirt.  How times have changed!

 

All in all, technology has made it easier and more time-efficient for both the job seeker and the hiring company.  No more going to the library to do company research.  The web allows for job seekers to do research on various companies easily and with little effort.  However, once a company of interest is identified, you will probably be lead to an online application.  (Refer to the Application section above).

One problem, though (at least for me), is keeping up with the trends and the multitude of options available.  Certainly, technology in this process, can be considered impersonal.  However, how personal was it yesteryear when we had to wait and wait at an agency or travel to a company and be told that they are not taking applications. Not very personal.

One aspect of the job search process that has not changed one iota is the dreaded compensation question.  “What are you seeking in compensation?”.  What kind of question is that?  My first thought is to respond with, “how much are you paying?”  We could go back and forth until one of us raises the white flag of surrender and gives up a number!   But, if the number is too low, you may be disqualified.  If it is too high, you may be disqualified.  It is like being a contestant on The Price Is Right.

Lastly, I do think, that we still need to be visually considerate of the business, both as job seekers and those who are involved in the interview process.  We don’t have to dress like we were on Dynasty (Remember, I am a woman of a certain age), but I do think we should be mindful as to how we are presenting ourselves.  You may be able to do the job or hold the position, but what first impression are you giving to others?  What are you exhibiting that shows time, effort and thought to support employment entrée into the company?  And…as hiring managers, recruiters, how are you representing the importance of your role and the company?   We all need to step back and look in the employment mirror.  Just something, I think we should consider.

Thank you for reading my article and stay tuned for the next installment of “The Funny Side of HR….from a Woman of a Certain Age”.

 

About the Author: Jacqueline Clay is a freelance HR business consultant working with small and midsize organizations to assist them in meeting the challenging responsibilities associated with the full realm of HR management.  With  over 20 years leadership experience in all aspects of the HR business, she has helped organizations in a myriad of areas, including  on boarding, labor/employee relations, policy and procedure development, organizational effectiveness, coaching and training.  She holds a BA in Psychology from Fordham University.


The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same – What Matters to Employers in the Hiring Process #EWS2015

Posted on December 1st, by Jennifer Payne in Business and Workplace, Career Advice. 2 comments

Editor’s Note: Women of HR has partnered with Spherion on a series of sponsored posts to bring you highlights and commentary from their 2015 Emerging Workforce Study, which contains a great deal of interesting data and statistics about future trends in the workforce and our workplaces.  This is the fifth in that series.

  

ln the last post in this series, we examined the changing face of the job search from the job seekers perspective, and what we as employers need to know about how and where to find candidates.  This month we’re going to flip that around and look at the hiring process from the employer’s perspective.  Because, as we’ve seen throughout this year’s Emerging Workforce Study, what employers think and what employees/workers/job seekers think don’t always sync up.  And it appears that the topic of the job search and hiring process is no exception.

According to the study, often job seekers believe that their current employment status weighs pretty heavily as potential employers assess their qualifications.  After all, common wisdom suggests that it’s always better to look for a new job while you’re still employed, right?  Gaps in employment on a resume are bad, right?  If you’re not currently working, that suggests that there’s something wrong, correct?

Maybe not so much.

Most employers and HR leaders realize that in today’s world, in the uncertain business climate in which we all operate, sometimes there are factors outside of an employee’s control that contribute to current employment status.  Good people get laid off.  Downsizing happens.  Mergers and acquisitions lead to reductions in force.  Spouses get transferred, often forcing the other to abandon their own employment to follow along to a new city or even new country.  There are plenty of talented potential employees out there who may not be currently employed.  And furthermore, in a climate where we all want the best talent available, we’re more interested in what you can offer, what you can contribute to our company’s goals than what you may or may not be doing right now.

In fact, looking at the 2015 Emerging Workforce Study, here’s what really matter to employers in the hiring process:

  • 33% are influenced by interview performance
  • 33% say cultural fit in the organization
  • 13% say the jobseeker’s resume
  • 9% say personality assessments
  • 8% say current employment status

What Does This Tell the Job Seeker?

First and foremost, the interview matters.  There’s no arguing this.  You could have the most solid resume and credentials, but if you can’t connect with your interviewer or articulate the value you would bring to the organization, you probably won’t get past the interview process.  Basic interviewing skills are still necessary.  So before you walk into one, take some time to prepare, to brush up on possible questions you may be asked, to fully understand how your past experience relates to the position available and how to articulate that.

Secondly, skills and experience will only get you so far.  More and more employers are putting an emphasis on the importance of whether or not someone will fit within their given organization.  On paper you could be a perfect fit, but if in the interview you don’t come across as someone who will gel with the culture of that organization, you may not move on in the process.  Speaking from my own experience, one of my most important roles in the interview process is to assess whether or not the person sitting across the table from me will connect with the manager, team, and overall organization.  Once the minimum qualifications are met, the other technical skills can be trained.  Cultural fit cannot, and the cost of a bad cultural fit goes well beyond the basic costs of onboarding and training, potentially having a negative impact on the productivity of others on the team or damaging morale.  So beyond prepping for questions that may be asked during the interview, job seekers need to do their homework about the organization as a whole.  Use resources like Glassdoor to get a flavor for the organizational culture.  Examine your own networks for contacts within the organization to get an insiders perspective on what it’s like to work there.  Prepare to demonstrate not just the technical qualifications you bring, but how your personality and work style may complement the culture.  All other things being equal, the candidate who demonstrates the best fit will likely be the one to move on in the process.

The face of the job search may be changing for both employers and job seekers, but there are still some things that remain constant, and the interview is still the critical moment that can make or break the process.

 

 

Disclosure: Spherion partnered with bloggers such as me for their Emerging Workforce Study program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any idea mentioned in these posts. Spherion believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Spherion’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.


Job Hunting Over 50

Posted on November 10th, by Dorothy Douglass in Business and Workplace, Career Advice. 2 comments

I am  54 years old.  I have a tendency to start many of my blog posts with this information.  Why?  To add context to whatever I’m passionate enough about to write at that moment.  I’m also an HR professional and I like to think I am progressive and strategic.  I’m fairly active on social media – though I cannot tell you what a Reddit is, or what Four Square does, I do post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and I pin a lot on Pinterest.  Likely, if you are a young, hip, tech-savvy reader, you know now why I lead with my age.  I’m most certainly behind the times.

But onward…in my use of social media, I try to be more than just a serial poster, creeper, or tweeter.  I try to connect with my connections, and be a friend or a network ally.  Not too long ago, a Facebook friend posted a melancholy post.  Ok, it was scary.  I don’t see his posts often, but for whatever reason, it came up on my feed.  Kismet, perhaps.  High school and college classmate, not a close get-together-for-lunch friend, but one I have always admired.  I commented, “Are you ok?”

Many others posted and one shared with us that he spoke with this man and he was indeed okay, though troubled by a recent job loss, and challenged to find a new position.  I was compelled to offer to assist – hey, I AM in HR, but perhaps there was something I could share to help this friend move forward.  We connected on LinkedIn, messaged one another and arranged a phone call.

We talked for a bit and he shared his frustrations with today’s job hunt and job market.  I’m paraphrasing as best as I can (I’m over 50, cut me some slack!), and here are a few of those frustrations:

Online applications.  My friend lamented that looking for a job is just “not like it used to be.” At some point, this displaced salesman could walk in with his resume to a company and talk to someone face-to-face.  Or at least send the resume in the mail and it would be reviewed.

  • “Why must I also upload my resume when I’ve spent lots of time typing in the information on the application?”
  • “Why do companies fail to take down postings after they are filled?”
  • “Why am I always asked for my salary expectations up front and early in the process?”
  • “Why do I never… Hear… Anything?”
  • “Why can’t I call someone to convince them I can do the job?”

All are great questions.  And for any of us in the age 50+ category,  they are reasonable questions.  So here’s how I answered them, with my HR hat on. And there are some follow-up tips for HR folks.

 

Why upload a resume AND complete an application? 

  1. The job application is generally a legal document. Hint: Don’t falsify, glorify, or otherwise embellish information on a job application, online or otherwise.
  2. Generally, an application calls for more information and detail than is supplied on a resume. We ask for employment information including salary, supervisor name and contact info.  Specific dates of employment, and education may not be included on a resume.  Hint: Be detailed when you complete an application.  Fill in all the blanks as best you can.
  3. A resume may be filled with inaccurate, inflated, or even false information.  Hint: Don’t do this.   Google Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson for more information.  Go back to #1 – the app is a legal document.
  4. Why upload one if you are completing the application? It depends on the company, culture, and HR department.  Some companies may not require that the resume be uploaded.

Tip for the HR Pros:  It might be good to communicate information on why an application is necessary on your careers page.  We are recruiting tech-savvy professionals, of all ages.  But not everyone understands why we require application, irrespective of generation.

 

Why do companies not take down postings once the positions are filled?

With my rose-colored glasses on, I would like to think the HR folks are just caught up in the administrative process once the position is filled.

Tip for HR: Be sure your recruiter or HR tech person does take down postings that are filled.  Does your system have an option to automatically send a notification to all applicants when that happens?  If so, turn it on.  Our brand is everything, and if we aren’t staying up-to-date on our own job openings, how can HR be seen as credible internally or externally? Same for your company.

 

Why am I always asked for my salary expectations up front and early in the process?

Likely, a savvy HR professional needs to know if you and the company are in the same salary ballpark.  If you are seeking a job that pays $100,000 in salary, and the position you applied for caps at $45,000, there is no value in taking your time or the company’s to continue the conversation.  Candidates should consider having a clear picture of what they must have in order to change jobs, and what they desire in salary.  Reframe such a question with a discussion phrased something like this, “That’s a great question.  I have a salary in mind, can you tell me what the minimum pay is, and what the midpoint of the pay range is?”  Then continue the conversation.

Tip for HR:  Are you posting salary ranges out there?  Perhaps at least posting a midpoint would be reasonable.  After all, your time is valuable, too. 

 

Why do I never… Hear… Anything?

I hope (rose-colored glasses are on) that you mean after you complete an application.  In today’s world, companies receive many more applications than in years past.  In our company of 400+ employees, all who work within one state, we receive about 4,000 applications per year.  (Frame of reference, in 2001 we received about 200 per year.) Of those 4,000, about 2,000 are considered “complete” and are reviewed by a ‘real’ human.  Our system sends an automatic response to anyone who completes the application 100%.

If you were interviewed, I hope the HR professionals at minimum provided an electronic response if another candidate was selected for the position or if you did not make the next set of interviews.

Tip for HR: Employment brand is everything.  Want to be remembered?  Be sure to send a follow up letter, even if it is a rejection follow up.  And if time allows and a candidate calls, can you/do you/should you give feedback on where they could improve next time? What if you found them to be a great cultural fit, but not right for this position?  Following up with a personal phone call to ask a candidate to keep your company in mind for future opportunities – how cool is that?   Imagine the brand recognition you could have if you can do this in an empathetic, professional manner?

 

Why can’t I call someone to convince them I am right for the job?

Candidate, beware. This may result in your being seen as overly assertive, aggressive, or needy.  Generally speaking, in larger companies, the hiring manager works with HR (rose-colored glasses on here) and between them have experience in hiring and selection.  You may, indeed, be the right candidate, and depending on the job, assertiveness can be a good thing.  Desperation will not be seen as good.  An option:  follow up with a thank you call, email, or handwritten note.  Ask for future consideration and reiterate why you would be a great choice for a role in that company.  Send the HR person a thank you as well.  In today’s world, you will be remembered.

And candidates also be aware that HR may be a credible business partner to the hiring manager.  Trashing HR or following up with “did I intimidate your HR person?”  Or “Did I scare HR?” will not win you any champions the next time you apply.

Job candidates, you must be tech-savvy in this day and age.  At a minimum, you should know how to use a computer and be able to complete an electronic application.  Seek out assistance if you are rusty.  Many libraries and WorkOne offices have classes and folks ready to help.

Apply for many jobs.  The more applications you complete, the higher your chance for being contacted for an interview.  And prepare for your interview  – this is key to moving forward in the hiring process.

Tip for HR: Be open-minded and listen to the candidate.  Be professional and honest with any feedback you provide.  We tend to provide little or no feedback because of the litigious society in which we live.  How can we walk that tightrope best in recruiting?

 

Finally, my HR peeps, remember to show class and character in hiring.  Your brand is important and you are often the first glimpse into your company that an applicant or job candidate has.  Review your systems on occasion and have an outside, objective person complete an application in your system and give you feedback.  Was it hard? Easy? Time-consuming?  Did it ask for same information multiple times?  Did they get an automatic reply?

HR, be open to all ages, all generations – yes, I know we are sensitive to this.  Walk in the job applicant’s shoes. My Facebook friend’s questions are legitimate questions.  If he’s asking them and feeling them, I’m guessing there are many others out there in the same position.

 

About the Author:  Dorothy Douglass is Vice President of Human Resources & Training at MutualBank, an Indiana-based financial institution.  She began her career with Mutual in 2001 as Human Resources Manager, and is a graduate of Ball State University.  She is proud to have been in Human Resources now for more than 17 years and is continuing to “lean in” and working to influence the “people management” side of her organization.  She is passionate about managing and developing people; and I have yet to be bored in 13+ years in her current job.   She considers herself fairly tech-UN-savvy, though has immersed herself in Facebook and LinkedIn.  She’s still working on the Twitter-sphere & has goals to blog more in 2014.

 


The Changing Face of the Job Search #EWS2015

Posted on October 27th, by Jennifer Payne in Business and Workplace. 1 Comment

Editor’s Note: Women of HR has partnered with Spherion on a series of sponsored posts to bring you highlights and commentary from their 2015 Emerging Workforce Study, which contains a great deal of interesting data and statistics about future trends in the workforce and our workplaces.  This is the fourth in that series.  Watch for more over the coming months.

 

I don’t think many would argue that the world we now live in is driven by technology and technological innovations.  In a world of smart phones & tablets, apps, countless social networks, and constant connectivity, it would be difficult to make a case that technology is not at the center of most of our lives.  And since our work lives tend to be a microcosm of the world at large, it stands to reason that technology is, or at least should be, a critical part of our business worlds as well.

 

In this technologically driven world, one of the challenges for our companies and HR departments is determining the right combination of technology to use to attract, connect with, and recruit job seekers.  Gone are the days when an employer could simply place a classified ad in a local newspaper and find the candidates it needed.  Generally speaking, today’s job seekers are tech savvy and connected, reflecting the larger world in which we live.

 

Spherion’s Emerging Workforce Study examined some of the job seeker trends and discovered that when searching for job openings:

  • 79% use a personal computer or laptop
  • 27% use a smart phone
  • 22% use a tablet
  • 30% search on websites such as CareerBuilder or Glassdoor
  • 14% use social networks like LinkedIn or Facebook

 

What Does This Mean For HR Leaders?

 

The first thing that’s evident is that online is the place to be.  Only a relatively small percentage of job seekers aren’t looking online, so to capture the other nearly 80%, it’s critical to have a solid career site for your company.  And to stand out from others trying to attract the same talent, make sure it’s simple, easy to navigate, and clearly provides job seekers with the information they may want to know about your company and job opportunities available.

 

But it’s also not enough to just have a career site.  For those 27% and 22% searching on smart phones and tablets respectively (numbers that I suspect will only continue to increase as time goes on), career sites need to be at a minimum mobile friendly, and ideally mobile optimized.  This is even more critical if you’re looking to attract and recruit Gen Y, and soon Gen Z. Although not exclusive to these generations, and often important to many in other generations as well, mobile capabilities are certainly key in attracting those generations who have been using mobile technology nearly their entire lives.

 

However even mobile optimized career sites alone are not going to continue to be enough, especially if you’re not fortunate enough to have a well-known brand.  Well-known brands may have the advantage of being able to organically drive traffic to their career sites; for others who don’t have the brand recognition, you need to know where to be to find the candidates you desire.  This means knowing the various career and job related boards and sites, understanding which work best for your industry and markets in which you operate, and strategically using them to target candidates for various job openings.  That 30% who are using sites like these is likely to continue to increase as well.

 

And lastly, we can’t ignore social networks.  According to the 2015 EWS, 14% of job seekers are looking on social networks, but I believe this is where we’ll see the largest increase over the next several years, especially as our workforces continue to employ more Gen Y and Z.  And if you’re going to have a social presence, it’s critically important to be mindful of your online reputation.  We’ve already examined the importance of employment brand and online reputation to these generations in a previous post, and as our recruiting efforts continue to focus more on these generations, it’s an area we won’t be able to afford to ignore.

 

It’s a changing world out there, and as employers we need to be aware of, on top of, and embracing the tools and resources available to us to keep us competitive and effective.

 

Disclosure: Spherion partnered with bloggers such as me for their Emerging Workforce Study program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any idea mentioned in these posts. Spherion believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Spherion’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.


What Do Job Search Sites for Women Offer?

Posted on October 28th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. 1 Comment

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella got a whole lot more attention than he bargained for when he opined that women in technology could do more for their careers by being patient and relying on “karma” rather than asking for raises. The implication was that if they’d just hunker down and do their jobs, women would find that their pay would naturally rise to the right level and everybody could be spared the awkwardness of the dreaded “salary conversation.” Though Nadella backtracked quickly, it’s hard not to have the impression that he was sharing his honest belief: That in the meritocracy of technology, people are paid what they’re worth, regardless of gender.

Of course, no business is a pure meritocracy, and gender matters a lot. On average, women earn just 77 percent of what their male counterparts do, and hold just 5.4 percent of the top jobs in the Fortune 1000. The good news: The discussions about inequality are more open now. The bad news: We still have to have them.

Obviously, then, women who are looking for work face the prospect of gender discrimination. Sometimes, the discrimination is overt — we’ve all heard stories about the hiring manager who calls you “sweetheart” during the interview. But sometimes, it’s more subtle, entwined with a culture that penalizes those who even ask about family leave, or hidden in questions about children or aging parents.

Many companies are trying to do better, though, aggressively working to recruit women into their ranks. One approach they’re taking is to post open positions on job boards that focus on women.

These websites — which range from a handful of standalone offerings to postings on the sites of women’s professional organizations — don’t offer any kind of magic bullet. Employers can’t set aside specific jobs for specific genders, after all, and chances are each position’s been posted in more than one place. But by seeking out women through these sites, the company is sending a message that it’s serious about diversity.

How do you find these sites? Google is a good place to start. Enter search terms like “women accounting job postings” or “women technology job postings.” The results will usually include links to appropriate organizations and their career sections.

Practically speaking, many of the best listings are on the sites of women’s groups in specific industries. For example, the websites of Women in Technology and the National Association of Women in Construction offer full career centers, featuring job listings as well as the ability to post your resume. In many cases, you don’t need to be a member to view the postings.

Unfortunately, these sites still leave the seeker with a lot of work to do. A posting by itself says only so much about a company’s culture and workplace, so the onus remains on you to search out intelligence using your network, social media, online forums, and the Web.

Dedicated job sites provide women with a reasonable place to begin their search, especially when they’re hosted by an organization focused on skills that match the candidate’s interests. Does posting there prove a company’s commitment to gender diversity? No. But it’s a promising signal.

 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

About the Author: Mark Feffer has written, edited and produced hundreds of articles on careers, personal finance and technology. His work has appeared on Dice.com, Entrepreneur.com as well as on other top sites. He is currently writing for JobsinVT.com, the top local resource for job seekers, employers and recruiters in Vermont.

 


Can You Meet For a Cup of Coffee?

Posted on October 29th, by Debbie Brown in Career Advice, Career Transitions, Networks, Mentors and Career. No Comments

Ever get that call from a former colleague or someone you recently met at a conference asking for that “cup of coffee?”  It is typically a code name for a job search, and I believe we should all be saying yes and be willing to support others in their quest.

But this post is not speaking to those of us taking the call – it is speaking to the caller.

Yes caller- I mean you- and how you may do a better job preparing for those coffee meetings so they are productive for both.  It surprises me how often I meet with people who are uncomfortable with or unsure how to make the most of our meeting.  Here are some suggestions for you to consider to make the meeting productive:

1. Have a target list of companies of interest in the industries you are pursuing.

When I meet with people that come to the table with a target list it helps me think of people I know to connect them to. These people may not be in the exact companies you list, however they will most likely be in the same industry. If you are a generalist that can cross industries that is great, however keep in mind that this list will help trigger new connections for you, which is why it is so important to prepare one.

 

2. Research the LinkedIn network for who you are meeting with to identify potential contacts of interest.

Connect on LinkedIn if you are not already connected and read through the contacts and make a list of who would like to connect to. We all know LinkedIn relationships vary across a spectrum, so the more names you identify the better your odds are of meeting more people.

 

3. Have jobs you are applying for handy with explanations for the feedback you are getting.

This could provide an opportunity for coaching and also prompt further discussions about potential opportunities.

 

4. Have an idea for how you may be able to help the person you are meeting with.

This one may go without saying, however  many people  do not do this . Even if the person you are meeting with says they cannot think of anything in the moment, I have been impressed with people that say that they have thought of a few things on their own (which may be handy in the future).

 

There are so many positive outcomes that can come out of a job search.  What are some of the best (and worst) experiences you have had from requesting or agreeing to a cup of coffee?

 

Debbie Brown is a Senior Sales Executive in Analytics, Software and Services . The majority of her career has been spent managing people and teams in software and services provided to the HR industry. Debbie enjoys sharing leadership best practices and as an avid reader is always happy to share great book recommendations. You can connect with Debbie on Twitter as @DebbieJBrown.

 

 

 

 

 


Desperate Times Call for Not-So-Desperate Measures

Posted on August 29th, by Judith Lindenberger in Career Advice. 2 comments

During a recent career coaching session with a client, I realized that much of the advice that he had been given was, in my humble opinion, not so very good. In fact, the advice was desperately bad.

 

For instance, my client said that a friend told him that he should not wear a suit to an interview because it would make him look desperate. The word desperate came up a few more times. The same friend told my client that you should never admit that you have been laid off from your job, even if is true, because that would make you seem desperate. And last, my client asked if reaching out to prospective employers, without seeing a job posting, would make him look desperate.

 

My advice about the suit. If you own a good suit, wear it to an interview. Dress up. Polish your shoes. Trim your facial hair. Be clean and neat. You want to make a good impression. Dressing well helps make desperately good first impressions.

 

My advice about admitting that you were laid off from your job. Tell the truth. There is no shame in having been laid off. The vast majority of Americans know at least one person (a friend, relative, neighbor) whose job has been eliminated. Explain that your job was eliminated, stay positive about your former employer, and move on to explaining why you are interested in their job opening. Doing so will make you seem desperately honest and focused.

 

And last, my advice about reaching out to prospective employers. Do it! It shows initiative and drive not desperation, in my book.

 

I am curious. Do you agree or disagree with my advice? And what crazy career advice have you heard and disagreed with?

 

About the author: Judy Lindenberger is the President of The Lindenberger Group, an award-winning human resources consulting firm, located near Princeton, NJ. They are experts in career coaching, customized training workshops, online training programs, mentoring, 360-degree assessment and feedback, HR audits, employee handbooks, and more. Learn more about them at www.lindenbergergroup.com.

 

Photo credit: iStockphoto


{Random Encounters} Build a Connection and Find a Job

Posted on March 5th, by Nisha Raghavan in Women of HR Series: Random Encounters. Comments Off on {Random Encounters} Build a Connection and Find a Job

One of my favorite things to do to pass time when I travel is observe people and strike up conversations with total strangers. And it has often worked for me in several ways, be it on my flight when I travel, while at the bus stop or when I am at places that I have never been before.

Strike up a conversation

I know some of us may not be comfortable talking to strangers and it is just the way we are. But I understand that I am making myself approachable and likable to the other person by making a small friendly gesture, an eye to eye contact, a smile, talking about the weather or probably sharing a story or experience about me which somehow relates to them. This can help them open up their mind, start a conversation and share something that is of common interest.

Life is quite often like this. Every day we meet someone who wants to know about somebody or who knows somebody that we want to know about. And as an HR professional who loves to network, I always keep this in mind. Not just to connect with others with an ulterior motive but to learn something new, some experience that I never dealt with before or probably help each other out by sharing experiences that help us grow as a person.

 Stories help you build connection!

I know of an incident that happened not to me but to one of my close friends while she was on her journey from Dallas, Texas to Tampa, Florida. As it turned out, the two hour journey helped land her a job when she got talking to a lady sitting next to her. Fortunately for her

that random person on that flight was a recruiter. She sparked up a conversation seeing the PHR Prep book in the hands of that recruiter. This helped her understand that the lady was an HR professional and they started talking about job searches and interview processes in different companies. She indicated that she is looking for a position in health care industry. Unfortunately, the recruiter was a headhunter in the financial industry.

But to her surprise when my friend got back home, she received an interview call from another recruiter who happened to be friends with the lady she met on the flight. And my friend got that job. How cool is that?

I am sure they might have felt much more comfortable talking to each other in a casual manner rather than sitting in an interview room across each other or at a crowded networking event.

So start striking up conversations and build connections, you may never know who knows who!

Have you had any experience like this? Would love to hear from you!

About the author: Nisha Raghavan is the author of Your HR Buddy blog and a co-host of DriveThru HR. A former HR Generalist with extensive experience in Talent Management and Development, she specializes and writes about Employee Relations, Organization Development and how companies can keep their employees more engaged through Employee Engagement Initiatives. Her experience in the corporate world was as an HR Deputy Manager at Reliance Communications Limited, India.

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Skip the Clichés in Your Job Search

Posted on December 6th, by Kimberly Patterson in Networks, Mentors and Career. 2 comments

It's common sense (well it should be anyway!) that job seekers shouldn't bad mouth former employers on a job interview.

However, when you're looking for a new job, there's always a good reason for it and you should be honest — in a professional way.  I'm not talking about getting into an hour-long drama explaining how tired you are of the office politics.

I read an article where the author stated you should use the following reasons to explain why you want to leave your current employer:

  • Seeking new opportunities
  • Looking for more responsibility
  • Interested in career advancement

Don’t get me wrong – these are very viable reasons to look for a new gig.  But they've been around for eons and are ultra cliche!  Everyone who doesn't want to talk about the fact that they hate their boss will use one of these reasons.  If one of these reasons are legit for you, skip the cliche and just provide an example.  For instance, share an experience about why you're ready to tackle new responsibilities and how it will add value to an organization.

Unless the person interviewing you has just fallen off of a turnip truck or is on their fir

st day of the job, they’ll want to know more.  It's best if it comes from you rather than having the interviewer make an incorrect assumption about you or your work.

And what if you really are leaving your job because you hate your boss.  Is it best to be honest?  Well, we'd like to think we could be because there is a laundry list of bad bosses out there.  But, like it or not, perception is reality and you'll be judged way too harshly if you were that honest.  In this case, my suggestion would be to think of the second biggest reason of why you want to leave your position and go from there.

The most important thing to remember is to be your real, unscripted self.

Photo credit: stock.xchng

About the author: Kimberly Roden is an HR pro turned consultant and the founder of Unconventional HR.  She has 25 years of progressive experience as a strategic HR and business leader.  Her hands-on and innovative approach allows her to create and deliver HR solutions to meet business challenges and needs by managing human capital, talent acquisition and technology.

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Handling Gaps in Your Resume

Posted on December 4th, by a Guest Contributor in Networks, Mentors and Career. Comments Off on Handling Gaps in Your Resume

In the world of job seeking and resume writing, gaps in your employment history can make recruiters question you several times and think many times over before offering you a job. Everyone is aware of this and employment gaps are big stress factors for job seekers today.

Despite the fact the economy is recovering, job hunting is still a full-time job for many people. Job seekers quickly realize that they are at their most vulnerable point in life, and anything in the resume that sticks out will only cause more fear and stress for them. This stress can make them think illogically and differently from their usual pattern.

In many cases, it is the resulting panic of an applicant seeing a job gap that causes the most problems. There will always be certain uncalled and unplanned events in a person’s life. These events, like sick or dying relatives/family members, maternity/arrival of a baby, and layoffs, can bring about a big gap in your resume. Such gaps can surface no matter how hard you work, how responsible you are, or how diligently you plan your life. The key to overcoming such gaps is to not let it hurt you when you are searching for a job.

Remember that being out of work for a period of time does not mean you cannot keep yourself busy. Keeping busy means more than just staying at home and watching TV or playing sports. It means staying involved with your profession. This can help cover up the job gap and helps you re-enter the field where you work. It also keeps your knowledge updated and skills sharp.

Here are some tips to help you active in your profession and busy without a job:

  1. Take classes on subjects related to your profession.
  2. Volunteer in a related organization or mentor others.
  3. Attend semi

    nars and read trade journals and other publications in your field.

  4. Write literature about your subjects within your field of work. You can write for papers or magazine publications or even post them on blogs.
  5. Look for consulting projects/assignments to supplement your knowledge. You could end up gaining full-time positions as a result of a project.

If you have been working as a freelancer during the job gap, make sure you add the necessary details in your resume. Write down the assignment or project dates, functions, client names, and other relevant information. In short, treat your freelance work as you would treat a regular job.

If you have a large job gap to deal with, you could try experimenting with a functional resume or a chrono-functional one instead of a traditional chronological resume. Remember, however, that some employers and recruiters red-flag such resumes because they suggest that the applicant is trying to hide something. Chronological resumes are universally preferred because recruiters can easily read them and get the necessary information about an applicant.

Above all, remember to keep your network of contacts active before you need them as they can be very helpful in your search for a new position. Gaps happen. Prepare for them now.

About the author: Maggie Larson is a master’s level career counselor and an internationally certified as a Career Management Practitioner (CMP) by the Institute for Career Certification International. She was also recognized as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) through the National Board for Certified Counselors. You can check out her site at ResumeIndex.com

Photo credit: iStockphoto

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