It’s the month of love! Happy Valentine’s Day! Every year, I write a column about why it’s important to love your job. This year, let’s look at it another way. If you don’t love your job, it’s time to break it off. It’s time to end that toxic eight hour a day relationship. You wouldn’t put up with it in a romantic partner. Why are you putting up with it at work?
I know, it’s hard to do. Your job has been so reliable. It’s stable. You don’t want to be left in the cold with no job.
But, are you really happy? Does your job put you first? Or, is your job like a partner who’s draining your mind and your wallet?
You spend too much time with your job not to love it. In fact, you may spend more time with your job than with your spouse.
If you’re having cold feet about your job, this is the time to make a change. And, by this is the time, I mean – right this minute! The job market is the best that it’s been in an entire generation. Economists say that it hasn’t been this great since the late 1960s. New jobs are showing up every day on the internet. They’re showing up every minute.
You’ve probably heard that old saying. People don’t quit companies, they quit bosses. It’s true. If you don’t love your company or your boss, do yourself a favor. Look and see what’s new in your job field. You may be surprised.
Make a list of all the things you want in a job. What would make you really love your work? Do you want to work for a great boss? On a great team? Do you want to work on a product that you can get behind? Are you looking for a company with integrity?
Write down your goal list and start looking for it. What you’re hoping for is out there. Don’t stay committed to a company that’s not committed to you. Look for something better, something more fulfilling. Make your happiness at work a priority.
Breaking up with your job isn’t as hard as it sounds. The first rule is, don’t tell anyone until you’ve secured a new job. Once you’ve found a new job, wait until you’ve accepted it in writing to tell your company. Start with your boss. Thank them for the opportunity and let them know you’ve found something new. Give at least two weeks of notice, but not more than four. Things can get stressful if you give too much notice. After you’ve shared your news verbally, confirm it in an email to your boss. And, come up with a plan about how and when you’ll share the great news with the larger team.
Before long, the breakup will be complete. And, you’ll be off to a bigger and better opportunity that you love!
There’s this thing that happens when you see something unexpected. You just can’t unsee it. Once you know, there’s no turning back. That happened for me one year ago. I’ve tried to push it out of my mind, but I just can’t any longer.
Professionals on LinkedIn are posting some very unprofessional things. It’s happening all the time, and frankly, it’s shocking.
There’s been an influx of cartoon profile photos. There are also overly casual profile photos taken with baseball caps on. There are profile photos with children and pets. The professional is posing along with their two babies or two cats or two dogs.
There are job titles like, “Not Channing Tatum’s dad” and “Defender of the Universe.” In fact, if you look, there are 64 professionals on LinkedIn who are apparently defending our universe.
There are even posts featuring ultrasound photos, announcing the births of new babies.
At first glance, these things all seem fun. These people seem so relatable. This personal information allows connections on LinkedIn to learn more about the person quickly.
But, this is the problem. Not everybody can post photos with their babies and cats on LinkedIn and be taken seriously in the professional world. Not everyone can post a cartoon profile photo and expect to ever get a new job.
I’ll be honest. The people primarily posting these things are young male executives in their thirties and forties. I’m 100% certain they have the very best of intentions. They want to be relatable. They want to show they put their family first. They want to be funny. They want to show their personality.
With this in mind, you’re probably wondering why in the world this is an issue at all. Please hear me out.
It’s an issue because many people cannot post a cartoon photo as a LinkedIn profile photo and be taken seriously. For example, I could never post a photo with children and expect to land a job interview. Revealing my whole self is not a privilege that I have if I want to be employed.
To put it in perspective, I have been directly asked in job interviews whether or not I’m planning to have any children soon. As hard as it is to believe, the question is sometimes used as a screening tool.
To the young, successful men out there, this column is for you. I respect what you’re trying to do. I respect that you want to be relatable. I love that you’re showing me that your family is an important part of your life. I know that you are creating these fun profiles for all of the right reasons.
But, we can’t all share those things and be taken seriously. Let’s keep LinkedIn as the professional site it is. And when we become friends, we’ll connect on Facebook and I can learn about your kids, your spouse, and your awesome dogs there.
You’ve decided 2019 is the year. You’re going to find a new job. You’ve been waiting for the right time, and it’s finally here. After years and years of hating your job, you’ve heard the market has finally turned around. You’re ready for something new.
If you’re like many people, you haven’t looked in so long, you’re really not sure where to begin. Perhaps the last time you looked for a job, you found it the old fashioned way. Applying online feels scary. It seems like such a big deal that it can stop you from starting.
The good news is this. Companies have been telling candidates, “Apply online. If you’re a good fit, we’ll call you.” But, in reality, many managers are hiring in just the same way you’re used to – the old fashioned way.
If you think about it, it makes sense. When a manager decides to hire someone new, they typically think about whether or not they know someone who would be a good fit. If not, they ask around to see if they know anyone who knows anyone. It feels better to hire someone they know and trust. It feels less risky.
Very rarely will a hiring manager first think, “Wow! I’d love to sort through a few hundred resumes today from the internet.” The internet is typically where they look when they don’t know someone else. They may even try a headhunter or external recruiter before they trust internet applications. So, good news is – the job search has changed less than it seems like from the outside.
The other good news is, the internet has given job seekers an incredible amount of transparency that we didn’t have before. It’s never been easier to know which companies were hiring. It’s never been easier to find out what a particular job is worth. You can now find out what a company’s employees think of their CEO and their company. You can even study interview questions before your first interview. In a way, the internet has helped to level the playing field for job seekers. If you’ve never seen this sort of information before, there are three websites you should check out: Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and Indeed.
And, if you’re just starting to search, don’t let the new internet process scare you. Keep looking the old fashioned way, with a little bit of internet research thrown in for good measure. It’s okay to email your application directly to the hiring manager. It’s okay to ask a friend who works at the company to put in a good word for you. The old process still applies.
Before you apply, take a little time to revise your resume. You want it to be up to date, accurate, and error free. When you do get in front of the hiring manager, you want to put your best foot forward the first time. That also hasn’t changed.
You’ve decided you want to get a job. The first thing you may want to do is update your LinkedIn profile. But, this is the problem. You’re doing a few things wrong. Those things are going to slow down your search, and you don’t even know it.
1. You have no photo. You’ve got to get a photo. It’s no longer okay to opt-out of having a photo on LinkedIn. It helps people to know you’re a real person. And, if there’s more than one person with your name, it helps them to find you.
2. Your URL is a mess. You may have not thought about this, but check out the URL on your LinkedIn page. It will begin with www.linkedin.com/in/. Then, it will have something after the slash. If you haven’t customized your LinkedIn URL, it will be long and will contain many numbers at the end. Take a few minutes to create a custom URL. You can do this by clicking the link that says, “Edit public profile and URL.” When you pick your new URL, be sure that it is simple, and doesn’t contain a reference to your birth year or graduation year. You don’t want employers to guess your age from the start.
3. Your profile isn’t up to date. I know, you’ve been busy. 2018 was a crazy year for everyone. This is the time to update your profile. Add in your current and previous work. Be sure to include your education.
4. You don’t have enough connections. I know that LinkedIn isn’t the same thing as Facebook. But, to use it effectively, you need to connect to others. Connect to colleagues, classmates, and professional friends. Your goal should be a minimum of 500 LinkedIn connections. The more first degree connections you have, the more second and third degree connections you’ll have. And, it will be easier to find people at the new company you’re interested in.
5. You don’t have enough recommendations. The recommendations on your LinkedIn profile can be incredibly powerful. Your former boss and coworkers can leave you positive feedback – for everyone to see. It shows that you’re someone they would hire again. If you’ve been laid off in the past, the recommendations section can show a future employer that you were a valued employee. Don’t overlook this section. It can add a tremendous amount of value to your resume.
6. You aren’t participating. LinkedIn isn’t just a place to upload your resume. It’s a place to connect with others. It’s a place to join and participate in groups. It’s a great place to join into professional discussions. Don’t take a backseat when it comes to your participation on LinkedIn. This is the time to get involved.
LinkedIn is a critical piece of the 2019 job search. Before you start, review your profile. Updating your profile will help you to start your 2019 job search off strong.
Episode 184 is live! This week, we talk with Dr. Tanya Menon in Columbus, Ohio.
Dr. Menon is a Professor at Ohio State University. She also gave a TED Talk called, “The secret to great opportunities? The person you haven’t met yet.”
On today’s episode, Dr. Menon shares:
- Why our strategy of networking with those like us fails us during our job search
- How your “weak ties” can actually help your network
- How to expand your social circle, and your network
To learn more about Dr. Menon’s work, check out her TED Talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/tanya_menon_the_secret_to_great_opportunities_the_person_you_haven_t_met_yet?language=en.
Thank YOU for listening! If you’ve enjoyed the show today, don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts! When you subscribe, it helps to make the show easier for other job seekers to find the show!
Have you ever wondered how your website is doing in the SERPs? What about your PPC? Are you getting a good CPA? What about the CPM? Are you tracking all of your KPIs?
Was the last sentence obnoxious, or what? There’s a good chance, I almost lost you when you saw it. You may have immediately wanted to stop reading this.
In the corporate world, I’ve spent many years as a digital marketer. I’ve led teams and projects centered on acquiring new customers online. And, these acronyms are part of the jargon that digital marketers use every day. They stand for search engine results pages, pay per click, cost per acquisition, cost per thousand, and key performance indicators. Who would have guessed?
Sometimes, acronyms can be a necessary and useful way to communicate. Other times, they’re a total waste of space, and frankly, rude to the person you’re speaking to. I’m sure you can relate. Who hasn’t felt talked down to by someone throwing out industry jargon as if it’s another language? It can feel like the person has something to prove.
The point of what I’m saying is this. If you can communicate your message to someone simply and without using jargon, do it. Only use industry specific jargon and acronyms when there’s not another way.
This is especially true when you’re talking with colleagues or clients who work in another department, another industry, or another company. And, it’s also true when you’re interviewing. Nothing turns off a hiring manager (or a candidate) faster than throwing a bunch of letters at them.
Talk to others in a respectful way. Speak to them in a manner that shows that you believe you’re on the same level with them. Assume they will understand the concepts, but don’t assume they’ve been studying from the same dictionary.
I’ve never received a higher compliment than when I worked with franchise owners. After giving a presentation to a few hundred owners on the topic of digital marketing, one owner approached me. He said that nobody else had ever spoken to him about the internet in a way that he understood so clearly. He appreciated me taking the time to speak using plain language, but with an important message.
This idea has never left me. Setting aside the jargon allowed the real message to come through. The important message. The meat. It allowed me to speak with people who are intelligent business owners, but not digital marketers by trade, about important things that would impact their business. And, plain language allowed me to do it in a way that anyone could understand.
The next time you give a presentation, go on a job interview, or sit in a meeting, look for the most straight forward way to explain your point. Your message will get through to everyone, no matter what level or background. Best of all, you will gain respect and understanding.
I am so excited! This year – 2019 – is set to be a record year for job searching. If I could knock on the door of every reader to personally deliver this message, I would. This message deserves to be yelled from rooftops everywhere. If you have ever thought of looking for a new job, now is the time to do it. Right now. Not in six months. Not next year. Now.
Andrew Chamberlain, the Chief Economist from Glassdoor summed it up best when he shared that, “this is the best job market we have seen in an entire generation.” This is the time to negotiate for more money. It’s the time to ask for better benefits. And, it’s the time to wait to find a job that fits your life.
I could not agree more! We haven’t seen a job market like this since before I graduated from college. For years, the market has been dicey. But now, the unemployment rate is incredibly low, and there’s a shortage for skills in cities across the country.
When the market first turned in favor of the job seeker, it was hard to feel the benefits. Hiring managers were still being overly specific in job postings. They were still highly critical of candidates. But, it seems this trend is changing. Hiring managers have had unfilled job postings open for months. They’ve been burned by candidates who “ghost” them by not showing up to work on the first day. They’re starting to wake up to the reality that the job seeker is in the driver’s seat once again.
But, don’t delay. Don’t take this moment for granted. There is a reasonable chance that a recession could be around the next corner. Any economic slowdown will certainly change the dynamics of today’s great job market. Chamberlain predicts that the odds of a recession are 15 percent in 2019, and 35 percent in 2020.
And, this prediction makes sense. Big companies are already starting to feel the economic slowdown. For example, FedEx announced in December that they will offer an employee buyout program. Eligible employees will receive four weeks of pay for every year of service, up to two-years of pay. This move is expected to save the Memphis-based logistics company over $200 million in 2020.
If you’re as excited as I am, don’t wait. Start by revising your resume today. Then, update your LinkedIn profile and begin monitoring the site (and Indeed.com and Glassdoor) for the latest jobs – daily. Research your current market value. If you’ve been stuck in one company for years, you may be surprised to know that your value has gone up quite a bit since the last time that you looked. And, luckily, fewer companies are asking your current salary. Instead, they’re asking how much you want to make in the future.
Take advantage of the special moment in time, and create a new future for yourself.
Happy 2019! I think we can all agree that 2018 was a tricky year. But, it’s time to start fresh. It’s time to refocus on an awesome New Year’s resolution: finding a new job. And, it’s the perfect time. Unemployment is at a record low. Jobs are being added. For the first time in a long time, it’s a job seeker’s market.
So, let’s get to it. The first place to start is your resume and cover letter. These will be crucial to your job search success. Combine all of your accomplishments into a one or two page document. Go through the details carefully. Review it many times and ask friends to proofread. Then, move on to your LinkedIn profile.
Once you have your materials together, it’s time to run with your search. First and foremost, you have to get into the right mindset. Job searching is a numbers game. You’ve got to start with volume. Set a goal and stick to it. A great goal to start with is ten job applications per week.
You’re not going to hear back from every one. In fact, you may only hear back from ten percent (or less). You must prepare yourself for this and be determined to keep going, even when it seems that you’re getting nowhere. Trust that the process takes time. If you keep putting in an effort, it’s going to come back to you. Keep going.
To increase your chances of hearing back, don’t just apply online. Apply online. Then, email the hiring manager. This person is the one who will be your future boss. They aren’t typically all that hard to find. You can search on LinkedIn for the company you want to work for. Then, you can look through the employees who work there. You can even sort by location and title. Once you’ve located your future boss, send them a copy of your cover letter and your resume.
Just remember, you won’t hear back from them every time either. Don’t take it personal. Just keep applying. Apply like it’s your job. Focus on the positive wins. Be happy every time you get an interview, rather than focusing on every time you get a rejection email. You have no idea why you’ve been rejected. It’s possible nobody was hired. It’s possible they had an inside candidate who was preselected. Don’t focus on this. Keep moving.
Applying for jobs is an imperfect process. It’s like trying to win a bear at a carnival. The game could be rigged. There could be outside factors impacting you that you don’t know about. Keep playing and shooting and hoping for the bear. But, if you don’t win, don’t let it ruin the experience.
And, don’t take it personally. The job search is an imperfect process that doesn’t necessarily reflect on your abilities. Get going on your search, so we can start 2019 off strong!
Finding a work-from-home (or remote job) can seem to be an impossible proposition. It’s like finding a unicorn. You’ve heard they exist, but you’ve never actually seen one.
Many people ask about finding jobs you can do from home. Whether you have children, would like freedom to relocate, or just prefer peace and quiet, working from home sounds ideal.
Many companies that create virtual positions or departments often do so for financial reasons. It may be cheaper to allow employees to work remotely. If a job requires travel, it might not make sense to force the employee to live in the same city as the corporation. In other cases, allowing a remote assignment increases the chances a company will have access to the best employees.
The Survey of Income and Program Participation reported a 45 percent increase in employees working from home at least one day per week between 1997 and 2010. It appears that a large portion of those people are self-employed. If you want to work from home but don’t want to start your own business, where should you begin?
The first thing to remember is to proceed with caution. There are a startling number of remote jobs available online that are, simply put, scams. And, unfortunately, a number of legitimate remote opportunities are not listed as such online. Often, it’s not until you’re in the interview that you learn the hiring manager is open to you working from home.
The types of jobs where remote working is possible are often technology-dependent. Their heavy reliance on computers and the internet are what makes working from anywhere possible. The types of jobs you may find are web developer, virtual assistant and technology support. In order to see what’s out there, search Indeed.com for “work from home” or “remote” rather than by city name.
After you’ve found what appears to be a great opportunity, take the time to do your research. In fact, research it more than you would an in person role. Get all of your questions answered. A work-from-home job has the potential (at least initially) to go awry more quickly than when you work from an office. You aren’t able to form the same bonds as quickly when you aren’t together in person.
Here are a few questions to consider. Why is the role remote? Will you be the only remote person, or is the entire team working from home? What technology (such as a laptop, cellphone and Internet) does the company provide, and what are you expected to provide? It’s also important to meet other team members. Are they committed to their work, or are they using the work-from-home option as an excuse? Do the current employees feel the work remote environment is working for the company?
In the end, finding the perfect work-from-home job is a lot of work, so be sure the one you select is worth your time.
As we enter approach the New Year, there’s a lot of talk about setting goals. They may be related to career, family, fitness or other personal pursuits. It’s interesting to think about which goals will be achieved and which will eventually be shelved.
Is success always related to the particular goal – or to the person achieving it? And what sets the achievers apart from everyone else?
My belief is that almost always, the achievers possess something a little different than others. It’s not a MBA, money or good looks (although those don’t hurt). In fact, it’s cheaper and easier to come by.
The characteristic that sets them apart is they are able to live their lives without fear. It’s not that they don’t have concerns. It’s not that failure doesn’t cross their minds, or that they don’t worry. But, they are able to try new things without letting their fears stop them.
On a number of occasions, I’ve witnessed people who never finished college land a professional-level job faster than their degreed peers. On paper, they may have appeared to be less qualified. But, in reality, they had a lot to offer and they were willing to put themselves out there. I’m certain that in some of these situations, the fact that they had little to lose and everything to gain came into play.
But, I suspect this ability to let go of fear isn’t a one-time occurrence. It’s not something the person is able to do for just the most important things – or in the moment when everything is on the line. It’s the way they live their life every day. They’ve turned living without fear into a habit they practice every day. So when it does count, they’re ready.
Thomas Edison once said, “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” For all of his inventions, he must have failed on an everyday basis to lead him to the innovations that still influence the way we live today. Yet, he still kept going.
In 2004, I quit my corporate job and moved cross country for graduate school. Not only did I not know anyone in Los Angeles, but I paid for my own education and living expenses for the time I was there. Looking back, I often wonder how I was able to conquer that kind of fear and whether or not I could do it again today.
In the end, I often ask myself, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” And, if I can’t come up with anything other than embarrassment or a little lost time, I try. Worst-case scenario, even when I fail, I learn something new. And that new thing helps me to either try again successfully or to set another goal to try – without fear.
I hope your New Year is filled with new goals, new experiences, and a little learning along the way.