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What Price–Opting Out

August 7th, 2013 by admin in Careers, employment, jobs skills, Uncategorized, Volunteering, women

This weekend in  The New York Times Magazine   Judith Warner, known for her book Perfect Madness Motherhood in an Age of Anxiety  writes about a generation of women who want back into the workforce after leaving it a decade ago. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s an Unpaid Internship Worth Anyway?

June 19th, 2013 by admin in Careers, compensation, education, employment, internships

With all the attention being paid in the last week to the value of unpaid internships, NACE, the National Association of Colleges and Employers set about to determine what the relative value of each is. Read the rest of this entry »

The Most Preferred Benefit For New College Grads and the Runners Up

January 9th, 2013 by admin in Careers, compensation, employment, jobs skills

Want more evidence that the Great Recession has altered the job hunting landscape for new grads? Historically, they wanted health benefits. Now that’s changing. Read the rest of this entry »

Certificates Instead of College, Who Benefits?

June 6th, 2012 by admin in compensation, employment, jobs skills, majors

 In a new study released today by the  Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce shows that certificates are the fastest growing form of postsecondary credentials in the U.S., increasing from six percent n 1980 to 22 percent of awards today.

Certificates are more affordable than college, usually taken less than a year complete and can mean a higher salary.

Read the rest of this entry »

Career Transitions Hit Home

May 17th, 2010 by admin in Careers

There is a saying among journalists, that you never want to be part of the story. Still when fellow journalist Eve Tahmincioglu, asked me to guest blog at about One Family’s Career Journey I readily agreed.
My husband and daughter are both in career transitions. My daughter is a rising college junior, a history major with a fledging interest in becoming a curator. My husband is a long time IT sales engineer, who was unexpectedly laid off last June.
With unemployment among teens and young adults at record highs and long term unemployment a factor in the economic recovery, I hope readers can gain some useful insights from our story.

Coming next week on our Conversation with Geoff Colvin the author of Talent is Overrated, which will soon be out in paperback.

Paying Lip Service to Job Hunting

April 12th, 2010 by admin in Careers, Uncategorized

Temporary work is considered a bellwether of the economy. And as the economy perks up, (over 284,000 temp jobs have been created since the low in September 2009, 50,000 in February alone), some of the millions of unemployed may be toying with temping as a way of getting back into the job market.

Those still on the sidelines, may want to consider the findings of Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor David Autor. With his colleague, Susan N. Houseman of the Upjohn Institute, he’s found that temporary help job placements do not improve subsequent earnings and employment outcomes.  His study covered low skilled workers. And he says the temp work takes away from the hard work of job hunting.

What hard work? He directed me to the troubling statistic uncovered by his colleague Dr. Alan Krueger of Princeton University who with Andreas Muller who published a paper in May 2008 entitled The Lot of the Unemployed: A Time Use Perspective.

It seems before the financial meltdown unemployed Americans spent a mere 40 minutes a day on their job search, while their gainfully employed colleagues spent a full 408 minutes on the job. What did the unemployed do with the rest of their day?

For openers they spent nearly double the amount on the care of others, 112 minutes for the employed vs. 226 minutes for the unemployed. What did they do with the rest of their time? The unemployed spent more time on education a day, 25 minutes, vs. 11 minutes for the employed. And they spent a disproportionate share of their leisure time watching television, 201 minutes for the unemployed vs. 109 minutes for those who were employed.

Dr. Krueger is on leave at the Treasury Department and unavailable for comment. And, yes, in May 2008, the recession was just beginning. It’s become a truism that jobs are hard to come by and it’s an employers’ market. Still some job seekers might get better results if they redoubled their efforts.

Career Changing Blueprint

March 1st, 2010 by admin in Careers

Julie Jansen may have been way ahead of the times when I Don’t Know What I Want, But I Know It’s Not This  (Penguin) was first released in 2003.  In those less threatening economic times she created a blueprint for embarking on a successful career.

If anything, Ms. Jansen’s book is more relevant now than when it was first published. Make no mistake, reading the book will take dedication, the reader might even find it useful to have a highlighter or post it notes at hand.  Ms. Jansen insists when it comes to careers, one size doesn’t fit all. 

How do you recommend a job changer read this book? Are there some parts that are essential and others that can be skimmed?

The book was written so that the reader does not have to read it in its entirety. I doubt that I have ever read a self-help book cover to cover. The Introduction and Chapter One set the book up and are interesting but not necessary to read. Chapters Two, Three and Four are a must in my opinion because this is where the reader takes assessments to help him to understand his own situation, a crucial first step to changing work. Finally, the reader only needs to move to one of the six chapters that best describes his specific situation whether it be Bruised and Gun-shy or Yearning to Be on Your Own. Most people do tend to fall into more then one of the six work situations however there is usually one that is dominant.

Why is it so important for a job seeker to be clear on attitudes, values and personality preferences before beginning a job hunt?

There are so many reasons to know and internalize this information about oneself.

1. If you don’t know who you are and what is important to you, you won’t be successful at making a good match for you work-wise. This is analogous to dating.

2. Being clear about your values, personality preferences and attitudes will enable you to articulate this to a potential employer so that they understand who you are.

3. Articulating who you are will also make it easier for you to sell yourself and the value that you can bring.

4. People who are more self-aware are happier and healthier! 

You have a lot of categories, indeed some of them may be overlapping. Is it possible a mid life career changer might be Bruised and Gun Shy at the same he or she is Bored and Plateaued? How do you suggest the reader prioritize which sections most apply to them?

Yes, absolutely! When I speak to audiences and ask them which of the six categories they fall into, the majority will tell me that they fit into at least three situations, if not more. If someone is Bored and Plateaued and Bruised and Gun-shy, they probably will need to work on improving their self-confidence and self-esteem first before changing work to move out of the Bored and Plateaued phase. Usually there is something the reader needs to do to handle in each of the specific situations they fall within.

In this economy, it’s inevitable that job seekers have gaps in their resumes. What’s the best way to handle that?

The good news about this is that because approximately 20% of the American population is unemployed, employers and recruiters are now accustomed to seeing gaps. It is still just as important for someone to be able to clearly describe their work history, including gaps of time. At the same time, avoid dwelling on them and prepare a succinct sentence if the question comes up. 

If a job seeker has changed companies frequently, will that be a red flag for employment? How would a job seeker diffuse the idea they might be flighty or worse irresponsible?

This really depends on the pattern of changes. If the person has worked in the same industry but for many companies in a shorter period of time, this is a red flag. If the person has moved quickly from industry to industry, this may not present as much of a red flag unless the jobs are lower level/easy entry jobs. My experience as a career coach is that usually when people hop too much, there is an interpersonal or performance issue so the potential employer needs to be skilled in learning why the person keeps moving around.

What suggestions do you have for people who love being specialists, and may have had the same job title or similar responsibilities and job title, albeit in different companies for years.

I don’t see this as an issue unless it’s a case of the specific type of work becoming moribund or going away. A good example is computer programming. This job all but disappeared when companies started outsourcing this work overseas, in particular to India. Then it is time for reinvention for the specialist worker. Also, I think specialists are hired and then expected to become a generalist once they are in the job.

Career Reinvention in the New Year

January 12th, 2010 by admin in Books, Careers

January is a time to feel optimistic.  Any New Year’s resolutions are probably still being kept. For some, they involve finding a new career.  With the economy still shedding jobs, a career hunt  may be a more formidable undertaking than in the past.

Alexandra Levit  who previously wrote How’d You Score that Gig?  and They Don’t Teach Corporate in College, is back with a lively and insightful new book entitled New Job, New You.  (Ballantine Books) She has put together a toolkit that includes everything a job seeker needs for career reinvention culled from the experiences of people who have made a transition some more than once.

Ms. Levit assembled a winning and diverse group of career changers, all younger than 40.  And one almost wishes we could see them in five or ten years after they’ve gained more seasoning in the aftermath of the economic crisis.

She sets the tone early in the book with a reinvention assessment, which when taken honestly, can  separate those who are merely musing from those who are ready to reivent.

We caught up with Ms. Levit recently to talk about managing some of the challenges of career reinvention.

Here are several of her tips, with suggestions for first job seekers and baby boomers.

Define your motivation in career switching. A twenty-five item questionnaire in New Job, New You gives a reader insight into whether a career reinvention is a necessity or a passing whim.  Sample question—True or False, You feel you are a different person now than when you first started your career.

Remember everything you do is a measured risk. Just because the economy is in trouble is no reason not to pursue your dream job. You only need one small thing at a time to move forward. Sign up for the week-end workshop or take that on-line webinar.

Choose a first job by the knowledge you’ll gain. When weighing offers chose the job offer with as many transferable skills as possible. These might include project management, sales, marketing, finance and client relations.

The first job is not the be all and end all. Trust your instincts, when making a job choice, especially a first job choice, but also dial back the pressure. Again ask, will the job allow me to have transferable skills? You’ll be able to walk out of that job with a resume to make you proud.

If you are considering a graduate degree ask if the lifestyle applicable and good for you. Sure parents and peers may be thinking that grad school is a good way to sit out the recession, but unless you have a couple of years experience under your belt and an affinity for the field, it might be a waste of time and money.

If you are a baby boomer seeking reinvention, realize you have an advantage. Yes, you may encounter age discrimination, so consider deleting dates from your resume, but you know the business world and hopefully have learned something about packaging yourself.  You have more to draw on than someone with just a few years of experience behind them. If you want to do something you feel passionate about, now’s your chance.

Job Seekers Take Note and Heart

December 9th, 2009 by admin in Uncategorized

For the nearly 90% of employees who have kept their jobs in this recession, a game of musical chairs may be about to begin. As they’ve watched their colleagues endure layoffs, and perhaps experienced some survivor guilt, the added responsibilities appear to have taken a toll and may be near a breaking point. More than half the workforce expects to have a foot out the door in the New Year.

In a newly released survey Right Management (the subsidiary of Manpower, Inc. that handles outplacement) asked 900 workers, “Do you plan to pursue new job opportunities as the economy improves in 2010? Rather than expecting to stay put, fully 60% replied that “yes, I intend to leave.” And nearly another quarter, 21% said “maybe, so I’m networking.”

Hiring managers take note.