Thursday, July 29, 2010

Every job is a temporary job

I was watching an informative video on how to help individuals maintain careers today. It was presented by J.T O’Donnell with and the one major point that stuck out in my mind was hearing “every job is a temporary job”. So this got me thinking about the state of employment today. The United States is an entire nation of temporary workers. Other countries have a much better idea on employee retention. They live in a world of employment contracts. The United States believes that every job is temporary, every employee can be replaced and they can get more out of less people. This mindset proves that not only with temporary employment agencies, but with every employer that retention is not important. Living in an “at will” employment country makes it more difficult to maintain employment. “At Will Employment” means at any time one can be fired for any reason. Now the individual who is fired might never know the reason, they might just walk into work happy as a lark, grab that cup of coffee, and then get the call into the boss’s office just to be told you are terminated.

It seems to be a belief that instead of working with the employee they can just be replaced. I have a few ideas to help the state of the working world that I would like to suggest.
  1. Go to an employment contract state. When a worker signs this agreement the expectations are understood, the rules for management are understood and the employee feels safer with this employer. I think it is more important for an employer to help the employee succeed so the employee can further help the employer succeed.
  2. Remember the time it takes away from others when an employee is fired. HR has to complete a lot of paperwork, they have to send out the job announcement, receive hundreds of resumes to review and dozens of interviews just to replace that individual.
  3. Reach out to the employees and manage them with a more hands on technique. Even if you spent an hour a week just checking in, giving feedback, and helping them train more, the better an employee they will become.
  4. Make sure the employers expectations are known and the job duties desired are being followed.
  5. I would think that employees become less secure and the spider senses begin to tingle when the employee sees and senses that there are secrets being held, or seeing more “secret” meetings between department heads and that just breeds paranoia in the work place.
  6. Give positive feedback when something is done correctly. Giving compliments help an employer get more of that behavior. If you want a child to do something positive reinforcement will get it done faster than negative reinforcement.
  7. Employers, I think that taking 5 minutes out of your day to join the get to work chit chat first thing in the morning or the first coffee break in the break room will show your employees that you see them as people and they can see you as a person.

Even in this economy we can all survive as long as we work together for personal and professional growth.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dress for Success, the old fashioned way

There are several things that go into making a good work ethic. Things that over time individuals learn to either do well or not do at all. One of the major aspects that is often over looked is dressing for success. On the day of the interview everyone dresses in their Sunday finest. The suit is pressed; the tie matches, the dress, hose and appropriate shoes are worn.  Why is it that one the day of the interview people can remember to look their best but on the first days after the dress code slips? I know that often times there are businesses that are business casual, or that are business attire all the time or even that are jeans and polo’s.

It is important to read the policy and procedure manual, ask the bosses, manager or supervisor what the style of dress is for the business. I tell my participants that it is imperative that they know how they are required to dress, even though I still get the ones who have their pants below their cheeks, and the halter tops are out in full force due to the heat. There are a few simple rules to dress like you are a professional:

  1. Suits are often necessary in a business world. It is important to remember that the suit jacket and tie must be worn, no short sleeve shirts under that jacket. Make sure the suit is pressed, cleaned and not smelly from anything. If sweat is a problem then carry a bottle of Febreeze with you.
  2. Business Casual means nice pressed khaki’s and a button down shirt. It might also include a tie but that is for the manager to decide. It means dress shoes and not sneakers. It means dressing down but not sloppy or exposing.
  3. Dresses, skirts and tops are another place to pay attention. Ladies if the shirt is to small and the buttons are going to pop, then that is not the shirt to wear. If it is low cut or close to exposing anything that also is not a shirt to be worn to a job. If it is a shirt you would wear out to the club, I am sure that is not work appropriate. Lastly here is a skirt suggestion.    Sit on the bed or in a chair or anything in front of a full length mirror, look into the mirror and see if you can see anything that others do not need to see. It is not appropriate to wear something that shows your undergarments.
  4. Casual dress even has it’s rules. Casual Friday might mean you can wear jeans, but only on that Friday. On the first day of the job make sure you walk in if not business casual then professional. Let the boss tell you that you can wear jeans and sneakers daily. Do not assume, find out the rules.

If you are an intern at a business and you are hoping for a job at that company I would suggest either professional or business casual only, even if everyone else is wearing jeans. It shows you as a professional and that you are dressing for the job that you want. Remember that when you interview for a job, you can sort of tell what the dress code is in the business but it is more important to ask the boss what the code is so you do not come into work when all the corporate clients are there in their suits and you show in jeans.

Dress for success means dressing at or above the norm, Dress for the job you want not necessarily for the job you have, this will only help you succeed in the long run. To be a professional you first have to look and act like one.

Monday, July 19, 2010

3 P's for job search Success

I heard a quote from, I believe Henry Ford, that said “if you say you can or can’t either way you are right”. I think this holds true for nearly all of us. In looking for jobs, the Job Seeker often begins to doubt themselves. It is a long hard struggle that is often grueling and thankless. Every day, a job seeker spends hours looking to find that one good break on a job, that one perfect job, but often times they become discouraged. Well there are several things one can do to keep up that motivation and keep focusing on the can.

1. Power in people is a good motto to go with. People in our network have others in their network and so on. Finding the right people through that network can help one succeed. I am not saying call all your friends and ask them for the numbers of their friends so you can call them, but I am saying an ear to the ground catches a lot of information.

2. Positivity can only make the hunt better. When we fail to see all the good things that we do on a daily basis, we tend to forget that we are great people with the ability to do anything. I can remember hearing the story about the train that could, that stuck with me, If we continue to say “I think I can, I think I can", you will find out that you can. It just takes drive and determination.

3. Persistence is a major key factor that goes into any job search. If you do not realize that a job search is a full time job then you might be underestimating the world of employment search. So often the individuals I help with job readiness skills tell me that they drop off an application and wait to hear back from the employer. I will ask them what else they do and get the “wait by the phone” answer. Just like the money tree there is not an invisible job tree that grows, waiting for someone to come along and pluck the job from its limb.

The negative mentality that everything is impossible to do will just make it where you prove that right. If I were to agree with a person that a job is below them and they might not be able to do it, then I would be doing them and myself a great injustice. You can do anything you put your mind to, it might take more schooling, it might take more training, it might take learning more skills in that field, but you can do anything you set your mind to.

Our own minds hold us back from succeeding and having the great things we deserve. It is like living in a world blanketed by fear. “You never know until you try” to succeed. It is like looking across a crowded room and spotting a nice looking individual that you might want to talk with, but fear of rejection prevents you from approaching. If we live under that black, ominous cloud of doubt, waiting through life for something to happen to help us succeed, then we will be waiting a long time.

Come up with a game plan, set the goals both short and long, brainstorm like a hurricane blowing in your mind, and take control of the job search, seek and you will obtain the job of your passions, the one you dream about, and the one where every day would be like the first day. Fill the job search with friends and other positive people and remember to never surrender to the negative thoughts. If you think you can you will. If you think you can’t you will never know if you could.

Friday, July 9, 2010

7 Rules to ease the job search woes!!!

Job search woes happen to everyone from one time to another. It is the inevitable dread that one feels when either looking for a job while employed or looking for a job due to being unemployed. The fear and frustration sometimes will set in and then the productivity of the search is compromised. The number one rule is to not have this happen. Do not let it get you down! There are several things to do that can help keep this from happening.

First: Make sure you communicate with those who are supportive. Often times when an individual is dealing with their own stress and fear they produce “tunnel” thinking. That is where they tend to live in their heads and worry. Having a loved one, church, support group or close friend can help make all the difference in ones ability to cope with the search.

Second: Make sure you have a plan set. The way to prevent more added stress and worry is to sit down and come up with a goal list which can be checked off as these minor or major success are completed. Having a plan and even a back up plan can make a world of difference when it comes to figuring out the next steps to the search.

Third: Sit down at the computer and make the first day just finding all the job sites you will be searching for jobs on, and have them bookmarked or written down. Then take a step back and do nothing else for that day but gather your thoughts and brainstorm with those close to you.

Fourth: Ask around to find out any and all networking events or groups that might be happening. Being around others, even those who are experiencing the same dilemma can make the support well received. Now do not get around the angry, “this is not fair” and it was their fault people. That will only drive the negative thoughts deeper into your mind. Only seek out supportive and motivated people.

Fifth: Remember this one mantra, it will get better, nothing but death is permanent. Knowing that you are having a setback take time to realize it is only temporary. Most of the time, we jump into fear mode and have to fix it right then and there. That is not helpful if you do not get yourself in the right frame of mind and that could take 2 days or more. Every positive step you take will only increase the chances of the new job, and lessen the strength of the worry.

Sixth: Take time to make sure everything is completely prepared. Have the Resume nice, neat, up to date, and ready to go. Make sure you have a cover letter that you can change at a moment’s notice to fit the job that you are applying.

Seventh: Make sure you have a little fun during this time. Laughter and friends help center you and prepare you for the upcoming hunt.

Having rules for your upcoming hunt, some fun and a lot of support on top of a plan will help make the transition to a new job or the transition out of unemployment so much easier.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Great E-Book Opportunity

I think that helping out a friend is always important. I know I usually write articles here but here is a great resource to help anyone who wants to see a cover letter and resume book. Go to this link and download this. The individual who wrote it asked for it to be shared.

I hope you enjoy it

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Success or Failure in Job Searching

Success or failure with a job or job search is really up to the individual. There are some do’s and don’ts that go in to being successful both on the job and in the search for employment. Job searching can be a long and drawn out process, even turning into a fulltime job itself. One of the major do’s in searching for a job/career is:

1. Make sure that time is spent smartly. Search both in the morning and in the evening for that next opportunity.

2. Make sure you have all the relevant job sites up and ready to go if you are searching online. I personally have between 60-80 different job sites open all the time when I am searching for a job.

3. Make sure that you have the resume and cover letters tailored to the position and not apply for something that is not even close to your skill set.

4. Make sure you network when not searching for a job online. It is important to get out of the house and away from the computer to reach out to others.

5. Join a local community task force or networking event to further your career.

These are just a few examples of things to do to make your job search more successful. Make sure that you also look into what you are passionate about. It is difficult in today’s economy to find that fit, and the pressure is on to just get a job, any old job, but that can be worse than you think. Just taking a job to get that income and not really being invested in the job can come back to haunt you. If you just accept that job for the check how invested will you be in making that job succeed? I will say not very.

Success is actually in slowing down the emotional turmoil that you are experiencing and making sure you take the time to really find where your passion lies. On a personal note I just found out that the program that I built in 6 weeks, under the Justice Administration Grant, will not be gaining the funding from the grant again for next year. The problem solving skills have already kicked in for me, looking to find another program to join/build or where the next step will lead.

Just because there are not hundreds of offers coming in, does not mean that the search has not been successful. Each time you submit a resume, make a contact, or even are told no, look at these as successes and opportunities. If you do not even try, do not keep that confidence up, then you could be on the road to failure. The choice is up to you. Success or failure is a state of mind that is driven by emotions and feelings. Often times when a resume is submitted there is no response, no call back no nothing even after that one week later follow-up. I just add that to the opportunity pile and keep going.

To be successful one really needs to look at every “No” as an opportunity, it helps you re-evaluate how the resume is put together, look at a better way of branding yourself, which according to Careerealism is Branding , or to make sure that the drive is still there. It is hard to submit hundreds of resumes, go on multiple interviews and not be offered a job, but the higher you hold your head up the better the chances the next opportunity will get you employed.