Job Search: Are the Odds Stacked Against You?

Find a Job - Business People in Maze

As if job searching weren’t enough of a pain to begin with, it seems new wrinkles are added all too often. And they’re basically never designed to make your life as a job seeker easier. Companies seem to do their best to put distance between themselves and the great talent they say they need to hire.

Find a Job - Business People in Maze

This means that something already considered painful or unpleasant just got harder. You’re forced to stumble around trying to find the path to your desired goal–a new job that gets you to a better place in your life and career.

Who or What is Standing in Your Way?

Theoretically a lot of things could stand in the way of conducting a successful job search. However, one that keeps rearing its ugly head in one way or another is “service providers” that insert themselves into the recruitment process between the hiring company and you as the job candidate. It’s one more hoop for you to jump through, and sometimes there’s more than one such hoop.

I recently read a blog post by Nick Corcodillos (of Ask The Headhunter) that comes down hard on this aggravating situation, and I strongly urge you to read the entire post, which is too long to quote here in a meaningful way. You can find the post at “HR’s Submission to ZipRecruiter.”

What are some of the disturbing complications being introduced into the employment process by ZipRecruiter? According to Corcodillos and the job seekers who’ve been contacting him, these include:

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Your Job Search Marketing “Campaign”

job

You do have a job search marketing campaign, don’t you? Even if you’re not actively job searching now, you should have a campaign either in mind or in the works. To paraphrase an old saying, “An ounce of job search preparation is worth more than a pound of after-the-fact damage control.”

What’s  a Job Search Marketing Campaign?

A campaign has been defined as work performed in an organized and active way toward a particular goal. More specifically, a marketing campaign could be “a specific, defined series of activities used in marketing a new or changed product or service.”  In the latter case, we’re talking about a campaign to bring you to the attention of prospective employers in a way that leads to job interviews and job offers.Campaign 3d Word Mailbox Deliver Direct Message Advertising Poli

To mount an effective job search marketing campaign, you need several things. For sure, you want to be considering these five:

  1. A clearly defined sense of purpose: Where you want the job search to take you–“a job” isn’t a clearly defined goal.
  2. A realistic grasp of the scope of the challenge: For instance, is your goal aggressively ambitious? That might require additional thought.
  3. An inventory of your most valuable assets : This is something you should maintain on an ongoing basis, so you don’t have major work to do when the time comes.
  4. Understanding of the probable needs, challenges, etc., of the organizations you want to work for: You need to be almost ruthless–for example, if you target companies that don’t have the kind of need you want to meet, you’re wasting time.
  5. A campaign plan that assesses and organizes critical elements as accurately and realistically as possible: Make sure the plan includes timelines for key milestones. Otherwise you might get bogged down on something not worth the time and effort you’re investing.

However, there are some things you do not want to associate with your job search marketing campaign, because they could slow down your progress or force your job search to a grinding halt.

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Not Thinking About Retirement Yet? You Should Be!

"RISK AHEAD" sign against road in green forest - Business concep

If you’re viewing retirement as some far-off future event that you don’t need to think about now, you’re fooling yourself. Likewise, if you feel smugly confident that you’ve made shrewd investments and will be in great shape when you finally decide to retire, you might face a rude awakening. Almost the only factor you can count on about retirement is that you can’t count on matters staying as they are.

Retirement–New Game vs. Old Game

You probably already know that the concept of retirement has changed considerably over the past few decades–as has the recommended approach to preparing for it.

One major event that triggered massive change was the financial crisis of 2007-2008, which had global impact. It was blamed for causing a devastating recession that many people considered the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

That event wiped out the retirement reserves of many Americans. You or someone you know could have experienced that disaster personally. If you were young enough at the time, you’ve had a chance to work at recouping those losses. Otherwise, you’re most likely engaged in a struggle to Road closedreach the point where you can even contemplate retirement–if you have a choice.

Sometimes you don’t.

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Your Resume: Fact or Fiction?

Great Resume 3D Red Words Successful Application

Your resume should communicate to prospective employers the value you actually and legitimately have (fact), not embellish unnecessarily, exaggerate or invent value (fiction). Don’t be tempted to “gild the lily” and risk causing yourself possibly major headaches down the road. (Note: According to Urban Dictionary, “gild the lily” represents “a condensation of Shakespeare’s metaphor in King John: ‘To gild refined gold, to paint the lily … is wasteful and ridiculous excess.'”)

Resume Quality vs. Hyperbole

You can create a great resume without resorting to exaggeration, including the use of extravagant wording to describe your experience and achievements. In fact, it’s a good idea to be restrained in your use of adjectives and adverbs that aren’t necessary and don’t impress either the reader or the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that’s probably going to screen your resume initially.Great Resume 3D Red Words Successful Application

For example:

  1. “Astute and visionary executive with an illustrious career building and managing teams of superstar performers that consistently exceed goals by a huge margin.”
  2. “Forward-looking executive with a record of building and leading teams that exceed goals by +25-35% year-on-year.”

Version #2 does less patting-you-on-the-back self-congratulating and still communicates more worthwhile information than #1, and it does the job using 16 words instead of 23.

So why would you want to risk problems by exaggerating or fudging the facts?

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On-the-Job Success: Influence vs. Authority

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Can you exert a positive influence over your work environment and career prospects even if you don’t hold a senior management or executive position? Does holding such a position give you both authority and influence? Good questions!

First of all, what’s the difference between the two terms or concepts? Authority is a social, political and business structure that grants an individual rights to make decisions and give orders. … Authority is the power or right to give orders and make decisions. Influence is the ability to affect ideas and actions.” (management.simplicable.com/management/new/influence-vs-authority)

Authority Without Influence

Effectiveness on the job, at whatever level (even C-level executive), can improve significantly when you have both authority and influence. Sometimes that’s possible, other times maybe not.??????????????????????????????????????????????????????

However, it’s important to remember that having the right to make decisions and issue orders doesn’t ensure a successful outcome–for you or for the organization.

As has been abundantly demonstrated over the years, you can intimidate and coerce people into taking action according to your orders, but the overall effect isn’t necessarily desirable. In fact, companies have been seriously damaged by authoritative management that didn’t take into consideration the demotivating and demoralizing effect of that kind of “leadership.”

So what are the alternatives?

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Are All Job Interviews Useless?

job seeker is rejected by bull boss

When you line up and go through job interviews, are you wasting your time? This is not an easy question for most of us to answer, although you might have an opinion based on your experience as a candidate (good or bad).

Recently I came across an article indicating that companies themselves tend to place more emphasis on the value of in-person interviews than on objective assessment, even though it’s often not justified by the performance of those they hire. The article, titled “Job Interviews Are Useless,” maintained that companies fool themselves into thinking an in-person evaluation of potential new hires helps them get a better sense of who the best candidates are than objective evaluation does.

job seeker is rejected by bull bossNot necessarily so, claims author Sunstein. For example:

“A lot of evidence suggests that…employers will stubbornly trust their intuitions — and are badly mistaken to do so. Specific aptitude tests turn out to be highly predictive of performance in sales, and general intelligence tests are almost as good. Interviews are far less useful at telling you who will succeed. What’s true for sales positions is also true more generally. Unstructured interviews have been found to have surprisingly little value in a variety of areas.”

Your Job Seeker Perspective vs. Employers’ View

Mind you, the article is written from an employer standpoint, not from a job seeker’s perspective. For one thing, you probably already know that not all interviewers are equally skilled (some aren’t skilled at all) or well-trained in conducting interviews.

Of course, you can and should prepare thoroughly for all your interviews. At the same time, you should be aware that if you get stuck with a relatively unskilled interviewer, you might need to take a more active (albeit subtle) role in guiding the interview, if you expect to accomplish anything worthwhile from it.

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Resume Secrets You Might Not Know

Resume Secrets Yellow Envelope Help Guidance Tips Advice Job Int

If you believe there are resume secrets hidden from you and you don’t know how to crack the code, this post is for you! Because. guess what: There are NO resume secrets–unless you believe a resume that will get you interviews is somehow mysteriously concocted by writers who have a pipeline into a well-protected Fort Knox of resume-writing secrets.Resume Secrets Yellow Envelope Help Guidance Tips Advice Job Int

Anyone Can Write a Resume, Right?

Well, no. Or maybe yes, if we’re talking about a resume that might or might not produce any desirable results (such as an interview). It doesn’t take a genius to string a bunch of words together. On the other hand, even if you’re a better-than-average writer, you might find your writing skills aren’t up to par when it comes to creating a resume that’s going to work for you.

How well do you know yourself? Most of us would probably say “very well” or at least “better than anyone else knows me.” That’s fine as far as it goes, but with regard to resume writing, it might not go far enough. For one thing, your resume is not your autobiography–at least, it certainly shouldn’t be! Employers want more than your “employment history.” They want to know what you can do for them!

Resume “Secrets” You Should Know

Since the #1 goal for your resume is to help you land interviews–as a necessary precursor to getting a job offer–there’s one resume “secret” you should know:

Perceived value to employers far outweighs fancy wording (including lots of adjectives) or overly generous use of bullets and graphic lines. Don’t get carried away with what is essentially window-dressing.

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Technology Advances and Job Search Change

Searching job with tablet and classifieds ads

If you still plan and conduct your job searches the same way you did 10-15 years ago, you probably aren’t getting the traction you used to back then. Some things never change, while others seem to change every time you turn around.

If you don’t see the need for significant change in your job search plans or if you actively resist the idea of making changes, it’s important to understand one key fact: Change will happen with or without you!

Technology Advances Transform the Job Search

Years ago, we used to scan the classified section of the Sunday newspaper for job openings in our target field. It was typically a very fat section and often included a hefty percentage of engineering and other technology jobs.Searching job with tablet and classifieds ads

These days, newspaper classified sections (if they still exist) are anemic by comparison. And you won’t see things like executive positions advertised there.

To paraphrase a popular 1960s folk song, “Where have all the job ads gone? They’ve gone to the Internet, every one.”

The problem is, of course, that you’re not the only one who has noticed that trend over the years. Your competitors for those desirable job opportunities know it, too.

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