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Job Boards – What a Joke!

//Job Search

For the past few weeks, I’ve been applying to jobs online. As a Career Coach, I want to be informed of what’s going on in the cyberspace job hunt. Ick..the job boards are such a joke. I wonder if the HR Personnel and CEO’s ever apply to their own company. I read a while back that one employee did apply, and he was rejected! Ha ha.

I am not sure how companies make decsions based on these online apps, unless they are basing it on:

1. Age – I can not believe how many ATS’s required I disclose my age!! Asking a candidate age during an interview is illegal. So, how are they getting away with the online app?

2. My Salary – What? Premature salary discussion much? Can’t you wait?? I don’t even know if I want to go to coffee with you, much less marry you. Don’t ask me about money upfront.

3. My High School – Seriously? That’s a huge WTF for me. Even if I graduated 6 years ago, it’s NONE of their business. Unless I’m applying for a job that requires a HS Diploma. And – if that is the case – a simple yes or no question will suffice!

I read all the time about the “skills gap” we’re suffering from here in the US. Great jobs at great companies are going unfilled because the recruiters can’t find qualified candidate. I can tell you, any qualified candidate is not going to waste an hour or more applying to a job online, no matter how great!

I like solutions, as you know. It did have a few experiences that were pretty cool. The best online apps let you upload your resume, type a short cover note, and hit send! Yes, your resume is still going down the black hole, but you didn’t have to spend forever with some slow, glitchy ATS where you always miss one little thing and it won’t let you “submit.”

Applicant. Submit. Reminds me of a Philip K. Dick novel.

Keep using LinkedIn, especially the “apply with LinkedIn” button. It’s easy. I hope it works, but in the end, it’s a job board. Be sure to read the article below from Ask the Headhunter. It’s an eye-opener.

As always, if you need career help, contact me for a comp chat.

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I’m a Job Hopper – HELP!!

The Interview

The Interview (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

//Strategy

Over the weekend, I received a desperate email from a friend who was about to go into a 2nd interview with a firm, and she asked me this question:

“I have been asked to explain my short tenures over a series of jobs for the past three years. Help! What should I tell them?”

Oh my, I get this one A LOT. Here’s my reply:

As a recruiter, I would ask you the same question. Short tenures are often red flags. It is quite expensive to hire and train someone if they’re only planning on a short stay.

Answer honestly; were you not learning enough? Were the jobs temp in nature? You need to reassure the company that you’re a candidate that is looking for a “home” and plan on staying for a long time. They need to know that you are not going to leave after 6 months, so be prepared to discuss this issue.

Here’s the Real Deal
Job hoppers (I’m lookin’ at you Millennials) in general, are not “ideal” candidates in the eyes of the company, especially the HR Department. Do realize that one of HR functions is to save the company money, and act as a gate keeper. One of their missions is to reduce turnover and increase retention. So, they want to make GOOD HIRES. That means hiring candidates that are going to flourish and be assets for the company.

The Burden of Labor
Candidates with a track record of jumping from job-to-job or with long gaps in between gigs look like a risk. And HR is risk averse. The cost of hiring someone is their salary, PLUS the “Burden of Labor” which sounds pretty bad, eh? The “burden” part is the cost of recruiting, hiring, training, taxes and fees associated with employees (Federal, State, City and County taxes), and benefits. You can add 9-19% of your salary and that’s the cost to the company of hiring you.

Plan Your Answer
If you were spending that kind of money, per employee, you would want to hire dependable workers too! So, why take the risk of hiring a candidate with a jumpy work history, when the well is so deep at the moment (and maybe forever at this point)? If you make it to a FIRST interview, I am shocked! So, to get to the 2nd interview, you have done something right. Your job in the second round is to ease their concerns about your flight risk. You need a cogent explanation of your past job tenures, and a well thought out answer of why you plan on staying should you be offered the position.

Here’s what you do: WRITE out what you’re going to say. Read it out loud. More than once. Does it sound reasonable to you? If not, make some adjustments. Here are three reasons recruiters/Hiring Managers might understand:

3 Reasonable Explanations of “Why?”
“The job (or jobs) was (or were) a temp position in the first place and I worked for an agency that placed me in several temp positions for the past 3 years.”

“I had the unfortunate timing at these firms as they quickly downsized once I had been there for a brief period; last hired, first fired. I have endeavored to conduct deeper research on companies I interview with since then; hence, this interview.”

“Once I was in these jobs for a short period, I quickly realized I was not a good fit for them. In my journey since I graduated, I have had to pay my student loans, so work of any nature had to fit the bill. I have searched for a “home” where I can contribute and become a valued team member. I truly want my next position, hopefully this one, to be a long-lasting engagement.”

Job Hopping may have happened out of necessity or through no fault of your own, but you will have to answer for it at some point. Unless you start your own business!!

Do you have a career question? Send it to me Kristi.Enigl@gmail.com.

ps. Millennials – I love you no matter what! You may not stay at job for very long, so emphasize what you bring: innovation, sincerity and great attitudes!

 

English: George R.R. Martin signing books in a...

English: George R.R. Martin signing books in a bookstore in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Slovenščina: George R.R. Martin med podpisovanjem knjig v ljubljanski knjigarni. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Internet is Endless and Full of Errors

//”Career Advice” Advice

Okay, I admit: I’m missing Game of Thrones and October is still a ways off. I am HUGE fan of the HBO show based on the books of George R.R. Martin, and I need a marathon soon. The title of this post is a riff on “The night is long and full of terrors” spoken by Melisandre of Asshai (Carice van Houten), close adviser to Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane). And, boy, is she right. Bad things are on the way for so many characters, and if you watched it last season (spoiler alert), you’ll know that some major characters were, um, relieved of their lives. At least Melisande’s advice is accurate!

Beware of career advice on the Internet, as it’s not as reliable. I spend A LOT of time reviewing career blogs and hanging out on G+ Career Communities, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and many more sites, scouring columns, articles and websites for the latest info on all things career and job searching. Rest assured, there are some career advisors out there that are truly subject matter experts. But, there are way too many sites that are dispensing absolute crap advice. Here’s few sites to avoid:

Resume Advice from Non-Native English Speakers
If you’re seeking advice on crafting a new, professional English language resume, please avoid advice sites where it’s obvious that the writer/advice giver is not an English speaker. Since you want your resume to be flawless and grammatically correct, do not take advice from career experts who can’t conjugate or construct correct sentences. I speak a little German, but there is no way I would ever write a resume advice blog IN German, for a German speaking audience. (Some of you may be picking apart my English language blogging abilities right now!)

Advice from Non-Experts
Copy writers, technical writers, coders, and logistics experts are not typically career experts. Yet, I find blogs from them offering career advice all the time! Seek out advice from: Recruiters, HR Managers, and career experts with backgrounds in interviewing and hiring people.

Shady Websites
Stay away from any career website that wants something from you before they give you any advice. Don’t subscribe, or input a credit card number or your Social Security Number. If it’s a site that offers you 1,000’s of job postings, but you have to endlessly click through a bunch of pages, it’s a Pay Per Click site, devoid of actual job postings. I find these all the time in LinkedIn’s Groups, unfortunately. Also avoid the “squeeze” page career advice site, which is a website with a really, really long intro/sales letter with little to no info whatsoever, usually ending with a “purchase this first and you’ll get the advice later” offer.

I remember following a “career marketing” expert on Twitter, and her offer of a free ebook took me to a site that was a tedious, never ending sales page that wanted you to “upgrade” to the pro package level for a couple of hundred dollars, without offering one tiny piece of free advice. Another site offered a bunch of freebies, and as soon as I signed up, I received an email with the subject line: FINAL NOTICE. Geeze, really? They were offering me a final chance to purchase their guide for, you guessed it, a couple of hundred dollars. Unsubscribed 2 seconds later.

Let me just write what I think: there’s an endless supply of bullshi$ sites out there that give truly awful career advice. I read a blog post on interviewing the other day that said “recruiters don’t like over ambitious persons.” What?

Like I said, the Internet is Endless and Full of Errors!” Proceed with caution. Hopefully, you’ll find the light. At least you’re not going to lose your head!

A few sites I recommend wholeheartedly are: Career Rocketeer, The Career Sherpa, and The Undercover Recruiter, and The Savvy Intern.

If you want helpful, practical and easy to implement career advice from someone that’s hired over 400 people in her career, you can drop me an email at Kristi.Enigl@gmail.com or send me your career question below:

Career Change? Why not!

Winter in Vienna

Winter in Vienna (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

// Options

Here we are in February! Happy New Year to my friends in China, or wherever they might be. If you haven’t stuck to your New Year’s resolutions so far, may I suggest you start over now. It is never too late to start over. I have started over several times now, and I consider myself somewhat of an expert at this point! Two years ago, my husband and I picked up and moved from LA to Vienna, Austria. Granted, this is his hometown, but it was still starting over after living at the beach for 11 years!

And so far, we’ve survived! Has it been tough? Yes. Did the finances run out? Yes. Has learning a new, unbelievably hard language been easy? NO. And did my husband have to go through a few jobs to find the right one? Yes.

I had to reinvent my career as well, becoming a “global career coach” and learned how to market my services worldwide, and use a virtual office. And, I am not so young these days! But, with a sense of adventure, resilience and a positive attitude, we changed our lives.

You can too. In the past few weeks, several of my clients have had interviews, but no offers, in the Architecture and Design field. In most cases, it was not the right fit. However, the design and construction industry is at a standstill for hiring. I read a statistic the other day that reported unemployment for recent Architecture graduates is at 13.9%!! That is shocking! Do you know how expensive and LONG Architecture school is?

So, what to do now? If you’re in an industry that basically no longer exists, or the job opportunities are severely limited, it’s time to change. Yes, change careers. Most people go into their chosen careers for either the love of it, or because they drifted into it somehow, but you don’t have to stay. The average number of careers people have these days is 6. That is 6 different careers! Not jobs.

Start by exploring related career fields, or “career adjacent.” Make a plan, do research. If you can type, you can find out ANYTHING you need to on the Internet. You can even upgrade your knowledge, skills and education via the Internet.

The key is to just do it. Don’t think about too much, or over, over analyze it. The best things in life are usually the things we do based on our gut feelings. Like moving half-way around the world to start a new life! We just did it.

Need to make a career change but don’t know how to start? Contact me for a complimentary career consultation at Kristi.Enigl@gmail.com. Also check out the blogs I’ve linked to below, they are very helpful.

Career Advice Q and A

High School #2 My Desk

High School #2 My Desk (Photo credit: osanpo)

// Vacation Edition

I’m back..sort of. I am taking time off this week, but, it is also the first time in a while I have the time to write a new blog post. And…I have had so many questions in the past month….so I’ll jump right in. Here is the number one question I receive:

Q. I have sent out hundreds of resumes to online jobs that I feel are really good fit for me. It’s been months, and I’ve had no replies (other than confirmation emails) and no interviews. What am I doing wrong?

A. Many people are in the same boat. There was a time that the online job boards worked, and a recent survey of top US companies confirmed that many of them do use the job boards to hire employees. It is not the number one way, however. That remains “referrals” as it always has, and always will.

Here’s the problem: the sheer numbers of competitors makes it unlikely that you’ll get a job that way. There are millions of unemployed, and employed, people – worldwide – that can, and do, apply to any and every job online, whether they are qualified or not.

Companies have responded with software called Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that severely limited the number of resumes that are approved for further review. (Less than 3% in some cases!)

If your resume is not perfect – according to an ATS software – it will live forever in the black hole of cyberspace. You need a flawless, customized for each position, keyword loaded, accomplishment based resume that can survive approximately four different gatekeepers!

This is the hardest way to get a job. If this makes up the majority of your job searching strategy…perpare for a long stretch of unemployment.

Remedy: The number one way companies hire is through referrals. You need to be on the right side of a referral, so spend time on that instead! (read: networking)

Q. I don’t have a lot of money or time, and I really need a job (income) ASAP. Is a career coach or a professional resume worth it?

A. Yes! Okay, I may be a little biased..but let’s look at this logically. In the big scheme of things, a job is a critical part of your life. You may have gone to college – a substantial investment for sure – but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a job or career. Here is a great article from USA Today, from 2011.

Today’s labor market has an excess of qualified talent, and the competition for limited jobs is fierce. The one thing you need to know is that you are in competition – The Job Games – and you need to be in fighting shape. You need sharp career tools – including your resume and online social media brand; and your networking and interviewing skills must be top-notch. If any of these career tools are not well-done, you chance being screened out – fast!

Ask yourself: is it worth the money and time to invest in career coaching services to get into great career shape? Look at the reality of your situation: if you have been job hunting for more than 3 months, and the results are not where you need them to be, can you afford not to seek professional career help? It is definitely worth your time and money to increase your chances of getting hired – sooner than later!

// Career Management Now

//Staying Current

Things change. And, in the world of Career Management, they have changed A LOT. In the past three years, everything that you thought you knew about managing your career and job searching is out the window, and the new changes are vague and complicated. You used to have a résumé. Now, you need a “Brand”. You used to apply for jobs. Now, you have to use Social Media and engage to be considered. You used to answer job ads. Now, you must navigate the online process and Applicant Tracking System. For many people, especially folks that have worked at a job for years and years, the new rules are, uh, confusing. OK…they may be confusing for everyone. Here then, are a few tips to help you figure this out!

1. Résumés are Marketing Documents

In the old days, a résumé typically listed your entire work history and responsibilities. Not so today. Now, your résumé must be a document that markets your accomplishments to a specific job and company, and you need to update it each time you send it out. Keep the formatting simple, no matter what résumé samples you see on the Internet. HR likes them concise and plain.

2. Use a Career Brand

Back in the day, your qualifications were enough. Not anymore. You must have a “brand” to stand out in a crowded field. And, boy, is it crowded! Your brand is essentially your key strength or unique ability. Use branding statements and headlines such as: “Global Career Coach” or “AutoCAD Expert” on your résumé and social media profiles. Make sure to support your claim with quantified statements.

3. Social Media Rules

Yes, I hear you, you hate it. But, you need it! At the very least, spend some time over at Linked In and put up a professional profile, including a pro headshot. Most Hiring Managers and HR personnel find you and/or check you out on the Internet. That means, specifically, they type your name into Google and have a look-see. What pops up is your Online Brand. Make sure it’s consistent, and it represents you accurately.  Also, be careful about commenting on blogs, and

English: Graph of social media activities

Image via Wikipedia

check the Facebook vacation photos. Things never die on the Internet. Ever.

There is a lot more to career management these days, so I’ll do some more blogs on this topic down the road. If you need more info on wrangling your career, send me an email.

The End of Careers?

//re-boot

For the past few years I have helped hundreds of my clients manage their careers. I written hundreds of resumes and social media profiles; I’ve helped career changers and others prepare for interviews. I helped more than a few launch small businesses and consultancies; I’ve helped a lot of my clients start blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking and marketing themselves in a crowd; I’ve helped most of them negotiate offers and/or relocate; and I’ve led seminars on networking and job search strategies.

My clients have had success, and this year alone, 12 of my clients received employment offers with combined salaries over $5 Million USD. But, recently, I’ve noticed a shift. It seems that hiring picked up a bit in the first six months of this year, and is slowing back down, again. Jobs are so scare, and the unemployment numbers reported by the media are wrong. Way wrong. The real unemployment number in the US is closer to 23%. Michael Thornton wrote this informative article at HuffPost with the real unemployment numbers.

I have, on many occasions, questioned this administrations’ response to the job crises. They have come up with a plan, yeah, but I have yet to find it in its entirety, so here’s a synopsis. I applaud their effort to do something. Is it a little too little and a little too late? Probably. Is it expensive and debt increasing? Yes. But it does have some necessary foundational work, like fixing schools and infrastructure, and extends Unemployment Insurance, and offers some tax breaks for hiring. I also like that there’s a provision that addresses offensive discrimination of long-term unemployed.

But it needs Congressional approval. Great. So here comes the battle. This is one Congress I could do without. It will be all about raising taxes on the rich for them. I think it’s interesting that some billionaires are asking the President to raise their taxes. Obama listens to rich people all the time – why not listen to them?

So, what does all this mean for working professionals who have had their career plans seriously interrupted by The Great Recession? Well, from my experience with my clients, it’s meant that most have had to reassess their careers. What they planned on doing for the next 10-15 years may have evaporated. It’s been a journey of self-realization for many, finding new passions and ways to make a living. It might be the “End of a Career” for you, but that just means you have to find a new niche. Here a few things I learned in the past three years about careers:

1. Don’t Cry

Shit happens. I think our Government should have taken a tangible and sustainable approach to employment in the US ages ago, but they are inept and it’s not really in their interest. So, if you find yourself out of a job – or career – mourn, but not for too long. The competition is overwhelming, and you need the time to strategize, not whine.

2. Assess Your Real Skills

As we move forward into the 21st Century, you may need new, relevant skills. What sufficed in the past may not cut it when you consider your competitors are mostly young, and possibly in another country. You must know exactly what you do the best, and how you can adapt those skills to the new labor market. Not knowing what you bring to the table, or what services you can offer as a consultant, is risky.

3. Go Global

Think about work outside of your local environment. The Internet creates new opportunities worldwide to work, or consult. With Skype and Google Chat, you can connect with employers or clients worldwide. It takes some research, finding the right people/recruiters/clients, but you do have some time on your hands, yes?

4. Think Per Project

The days of “permanent” employment are most likely going the way of the dinosaur, as companies look to keep the profits high and overhead low, so salary and compensation packages may not be generous, if even offered. Health insurance from employers may become a thing of the past as well. You need to know what your hourly rate is, and how to offer your services on a “per project basis” as this may be  the future of work.

These are just a few ideas to help you face the end of your career. It’s all about re-booting. If you find yourself in need of covering the basics, register with nationwide staffing agencies, but even at that level, the competition is stiff. It’s important not to waste a lot of time lamenting what was, or spending time on outdated job search techniques such submitting your résumé online. You need an actionable career management plan, and that takes some thought and time, and most likely professional help. It’s worth the money to get back into the working world.

If you are a C-Level job seeker, contact me for a complimentary consultation.

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