Monday, May 25, 2020

How to Stand Out from the Crowd and Get Hired

With more than 36.4 million people filing jobless claims as of May 9 as a result of COVID-19, competition for jobs is fierce. But, there are still plenty of opportunities available. Many industries, like grocery stores and delivery services, have thousands of job openings in the United States right now, and are hiring urgently. The task for job seekers applying for these positions is to find ways to stand out from the crowd to land one of these jobs.
"When there are mass hirings, it’s important that you know what the company — or interviewer — needs," says Juliet Huck, an expert in persuasive communications strategy. "You need to talk about what you can do for them."
So, while you need to be able to discuss your experience and qualifications for the position, the ability to show your interest in the interviewer’s needs by asking some questions puts you at an advantage over other candidates, she says.
"You can say something like: 'I really want to help you. What (read more here)

Monday, May 18, 2020

How to Use Job Boards to Get a Job

It can be frustrating to use the big job boards such as Monster, Indeed or LinkedIn if you feel like your resume is being dumped into a black hole, never to be seen by a human recruiter. But there are ways to boost your chances of reaching the attention of hiring managers on such job sites, according to the experts.
Kanika Tolver, a professional coach, says that job seekers applying to the big job boards after being laid off because of the coronavirus will have greater success if they are more strategic. For example, just hitting "apply" to an online job opening will send your resume to a hiring manager or recruiter, in the same pool as thousands of other job seekers. But, if you can find the role on the company’s job board, you can create a profile and apply that way, which could help you stand out, she says.
Job seekers also can improve their chances of finding a job if they create a list of five to 10 job titles or roles that they are qualified for based on their skill set. This allows them to cast a wider net.
For example, if you’ve been searching (read more here)

Monday, May 11, 2020

Why Everyone Should Be Looking for Their Next Job Now

As job losses mount in the U.S. because of the coronavirus pandemic, job seekers — both passive and active — need to be smart about their next move and have strategies in place to avoid facing more job losses down the road if they choose an industry that could also be in trouble, an expert says
For the more than 30 million unemployed U.S. workers, there is no doubt that some must be looking for work. But even passive job seekers need to keep their options open by being aware of what the job market has to offer. The key for both groups is being smart about their job-search strategies, and searching for jobs in industries that will be viable in the foreseeable future.
Arran Stewart, co-founder and CVO of blockchain recruitment company, says that while hospitality, leisure and retail are currently being hit with the largest layoffs, other industries will be susceptible (read more here)

Monday, May 4, 2020

Is Remote Work Good for Your Career?

Since people began working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, much has been written about how this is a trend here to stay -- more of us will now work from home and our companies will love it because workers will be more productive and it will save on commercial real estate costs.

Hold on.

I've been covering such stories for a long (long) time, since technology made it possible for someone to stay connected to the office via a phone and PC.

Here's how it unfolds:

  1. The company uses telecommuting or remote work as a way to attract and retain workers. It's a great perk, they say.
  2. Workers are thrilled. They won't spend their lives commuting and can be more productive. It's a great perk, they say.
  3. Bosses start to wonder about whether the remote workers are really working as hard as they would in an office. They're not sure the employee is contributing as much beyond just the standard duties every day. Where's the give and take with others that can lead to new ideas?
  4. Remote employees start to feel unappreciated. They feel like they're being left out of important conversations that take place spontaneously among colleagues and bosses.
  5. Bosses decide that it's more difficult for the remote workers to spearhead important projects. They'd rather give that job to someone who is in the office more. Makes sense, they say.
  6. Remote workers start to resent that no matter how hard they work, they don't seem to get the great assignments or promotions. They feel like they're not getting ahead. Is their future with this company dead?

I'm not saying this happens in all cases. I've interviewed many bosses and employees who love the remote work concept -- but they work very, very, very hard at it.

The remote workers say they have to always be ready to show their worth. They have to offer something extra when it's time to meet virtually, and must always work harder to bond with colleagues and bosses.

The bosses say that remote workers take a different kind of managing. They must find ways to communicate with them so that they stay engaged and feel connected to the rest of a team.

Working from home has been the norm for several weeks and may continue for quite some time. While the technology is there to let it happen, that doesn't mean it's the only thing necessary to ensure this is good for the employee and the company. That's going to take much more than technology -- that's going to take some very hard work.

What do you think? Is remote work for more people here to stay?

Monday, April 27, 2020

All Job Seekers Should Know the STAR Method

Have you ever heard of STAR?

Not the kind in the sky, or the guy who played drums for the Beatles (that's Starr, by the way -- Ringo Starr).

STAR is an acronym for situation, task, action, result.

It's something that everyone should master, especially if they are interviewing for a job.

The reason it's so valuable to job candidates is that it helps you answer interview questions in a concise, memorable and meaningful way. It's especially effective in competency-focused questions, such as when you're asked a question that starts with "Tell me about a time when...." or "Can you give an example of a situation where..."

So, here's how it could work in a job interview when the hiring manager asks you  to: "Describe a time when you were able to manage yourself without immediate supervision."

1. Situation. "I was working in the front office of a plumbing supply company when my supervisor was called away on a family emergency. My other colleague was not there that day as she had called in sick."

2. Task. "Calls began coming in from customers while some employees were also coming in looking for different information regarding delivery assignments or inventory questions."

3. Action. "The company always focused on customers first. So, I asked one of the more experienced delivery drivers to help prioritize the inventory that needed to be delivered right away. That allowed me to deal with customers and solve immediate problems and tell the others I would call them back that day. Once all the immediate calls had been resolved, I was able to prioritize all the other issues and deal with them as efficiently as I could. I explained to everyone what was going on, and found customers and staff to be understanding."

4. Result. "By prioritizing work and enlisting help when I could, I was able to keep the schedule on track, keep customers happy and prevent any bottlenecks in the work."

While this is a good strategy in an interview, it's also a great way to share your progress with a boss during a performance evaluation. Practice it a few times to feel comfortable with the process, and make sure that when you feel you've done well at work, you store that situation in your memory so you can relate it later using the STAR method.

Monday, April 20, 2020

How Your Failure Can Benefit You and the World Right Now

One of the wonderful things that's happening right now is this "we're all in this together" mentality.

But even now, when you fail, you're going to feel very, very alone.

No one is going to send you little heart emojis when you fail at work, whether it's being written up for some infraction or even being fired. Nope. When you fail it's often a very lonely thing and there may be very little "I'm in this with you" attitude from your colleagues.

Right now, a lot of people are failing. They're unproductive and the boss has noticed. They're losing their focus or mojo or whatever and just can't seem to get the job done right. Maybe they're entrepreneurs and they're watching their life's dream go right down the economic tubes.

It's tough to fail right now on top of everything else. Some may offer little sympathy when it seems so trivial in this life-and-death situation.

Still, it hurts to fail, no matter when it happens. But I've interviewed enough people over the years -- experts and everyday worker bees -- to tell you that failure can have benefits. If you need some reassurance right now that failing is OK, then I'm here to give it to you.

Here's how you can benefit from failure:
  • You will learn something. If you keep doing the same thing all the time and are successful at it, you're not going to change. You're not going to grow. Let's face it: If the coronavirus has taught us anything, it's that we need to be able to adapt, to flex and to grow. When you fail, you're learning how to pivot and how to change course when life throws your a curve, and that's always valuable. 
  • You will become a better person. When life knocked you around in high school, you learned a lot about who your real friends were, who you were as a person and what was important to you in the long run. That same lesson is learned in adulthood. When you get knocked around in your career, you learn who supports you in your network, what you really want to do and the parts of your career that really matter to you. That will make you a better person, a better employee, a better colleague and a better leader.
  • You will be more creative. I think it's fascinating to watch the way people have adapted to failures during this pandemic. New York fashion designers make face masks because of a failure to supply healthcare workers with necessary equipment. Teachers figure out ways to teach their students when the online systems go haywire. When you fail, your brain will start thinking about things like: "How could I do that differently next time?" "What can I do to salvage the situation?" Those are all good things. A creative brain is always an asset in any career.
I think failure can be tough at any time, but during a pandemic it can be even harder because you may already be feeling a lot of anxiety and stress.

Just remember that failure in your career is a great way to prepare yourself for the future and know that you're building your resiliency, creativity and character. 

That's something that will benefit you and the world.

Monday, April 13, 2020

3 Ways You Can Make a Difference During the Pandemic

Right now, everyone has to step up.

That's my mantra -- I've got to step up. Whether it's in my community, in my own family or in my job, I've got to do more. I can't be sitting by, working puzzles, watching "Tiger King" and and thinking someone else will do what needs to be done.

I don't think this has to be huge. Maybe you check on a neighbor regularly and re-learn algebra so you can help your kid with math assignments. But it also means that we're all leaders now -- and that especially includes on the job.

For example, there are a lot of books and articles about how to manage during a crisis and how to be a better leader. But you know what? We all need to be leaders now. No one gets to stand by and wait on those "who get paid to do it."

Here's what I'm suggesting, based on some research from crisis leadership experts:

1. Check in. Just as you say "Are you OK?" to your friends and family members during this time, make sure you're checking in with colleagues -- and even your boss. Just asking "How are things going?" can make a huge difference when a colleague is struggling to get work done from home or figure out how to solve a work problem. Ask questions and then listen. It could be that a co-worker or your manager just need a sounding board to work through an issue. Remember: These are things you might have done without thinking in an office setting, but isn't being done as we all stay home. This can also be an advantage for you, as we all search for a way to do something to help someone else. Just being a friendly ear can reduce a lot of anxiety for someone else and help you feel better, too.

2. Be straightforward. Have you ever tried to work with three kids underfoot or after being alone in your home for more than two weeks with no one to talk to? It's tough. It can be depressing and stressful. Now is the time to make sure you're not adding to those issues by not communicating clearly. Before you fire off that email or IM, make sure you're expressing yourself concisely and clearly. If you exchange more than a couple of messages about an issue, jump on the phone with the other person. Not only will this reduce stressful, confusing messages, but it can be good for your emotional state to connect with another voice.

3. Look to the future. Eventually, this pandemic will pass. Don't stay in panic mode by only thinking about how you're going to get through the day or week. If there's a project you've been thinking about, something that will be sort of fun or exciting, then it's OK to think about it and even start planning for it. Your colleagues may appreciate talking about something that isn't geared completely around COVID-19.

As I said earlier, I think we all have to step up. We may not be fighting the disease in a hospital alongside our brave healthcare workers, but we can make a difference in how we deal with one another in the workplace. That can go a long way to helping us all heal.