Archive for the ‘job search’ Category

The Power of Passivity: Seek Not and Ye Shall Find

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

Employers are frequently found to prefer passive job seekers over active ones, so how can you use this knowledge to improve your career prospects?

While you may think that being proactive gives you an edge in your job hunt, research has shown that many employers favor job seekers who are playing it cool. Passive job seekers are those that are open to a new position, although not actively searching or applying for vacancies. Instead of spending hours sifting through job boards and contacting companies, your best bet for progressing your career could be to “play hard to get” and entice recruiters to come to you.

Passive job seekers have the advantage

A recent study revealed that 80% of HR professionals feel passive job seekers are the best source of quality employees. However, the survey also found that only 47% of job seekers are aware of this fact, showing that employers and candidates have very different understandings of what works in the recruitment world.

When asked what makes passive candidates more attractive than active ones, 42% of respondents said these individuals take their careers more seriously, 44% felt that they had the most experience, and an additional 44% said they had the best skill sets.

Even if you’re unemployed, you can turn into a passive job seeker right now by freelancing, becoming an entrepreneur, volunteering, or blogging. By engaging in these activities while you search for a job, you won’t have gaps on your resume, you’ll be practicing new skills, and you’ll potentially be earning side income so you will be less desperate for a job, which makes you more attractive as a candidate (and gives you leverage).

Tips for becoming a passive job seeker

Now that you’ve recognized the “power of passivity” in attaining long-term job search success, try using the following strategies to your advantage:

1. Keep your resume up-to-date – If a recruiter ever contacts you about a position, you want to be ready to show them what you can do immediately.

2. Stay involved online – While you may not be engaging in an active job search, maintaining an online presence means staying in the forefront of your professional contacts’ minds. This includes building a robust LinkedIn profile, joining relevant LinkedIn Groups, and tapping into social networking (Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, for example) to strengthen your social presence.

3. Develop a solid pool of referrals – Professional connections are the biggest assets of a passive job seeker, as their recommendations will do the legwork for you. Stay connected with your network via social media and offer help in return, rather than just building your network and only reaching out when you’re looking for a job. If you’re interested and engaged, your contacts will be more likely to give you help if and when you need it.

4. Write Recommendations – Giving to get works every time. Write LinkedIn recommendations for some of your connections. In return, you’ll get a recommendation back from at least some of the people you provide a reference for. Those recommendations show on your Profile and they are a reference in advance to a potential employer.

5. Be Interview Ready – Don’t use up all your accrued vacation or personal leave time unless you have to. Keep some in reserve, so you have time to interview if an opportunity that’s too good to pass up comes along.

Good luck!

The power of passivity: How not looking could get you the job | via Talent International.

What’s in a Title?

Friday, July 7th, 2017

For some, it’s ego. For some, it’s power. For some, it’s ambition. For some, it’s self-esteem. And for many job seekers, it could be what keeps you from or lands you your next role.

Your title.

The issue of your current and previous job titles is something to consider carefully, since HR and hiring managers often fixate on titles, which can be (but often are not) simple summaries of what a professional does and at what level. Often, though, depending on the company and the industry, titles can just as easily be misleading or confusing, making it difficult to effectively judge a candidate’s experience and capabilities (especially as regards seniority). And this can hold you back professionally in myriad ways.

So, how can you move on and up if your current title suggests that you don’t have the qualifications for that next step, even if, say, you have years of experience and could very well have a “higher” level title if not for extenuating circumstances such as your company’s budget or team structure? Is your only option to wait with baited breath for a promotion before you can start exploring other opportunities?

If you’re in this situation, you’ve likely asked yourself the following questions: Can you fudge your title on your resume? Embellish your role to be viewed as a more desirable candidate? Take pains to explain your position to the hiring manager? Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Examine and Clarify

A job seeker once told me she waited to start looking for a new job until after she got a promotion and title change (from associate editor to editor). While not terribly unhappy in her current role, she was ready to move on. “I probably would’ve done it sooner,” she confided, “but I was embarrassed by my job title.”

She explained that she wasn’t comfortable applying to roles as long as associate was a part of her title, and so stayed put. Now, promotion in hand—or on paper as it were—she was prepared to look forward and embrace a new opportunity, having ditched the label that she believed made her sound too junior for roles she felt qualified for.

If you’re at the point in your career when you could easily have the next title up, whatever that may be in your industry or field, clarify your position on your resume. So maybe you’ve been working as a production assistant for three years, but the truth is, you are the production team at your company.

You report to the director, yes, but you coordinate all of the in-house production, and you’ve moved so far beyond assisting anyone that it’s not even funny. But, for whatever lame reason, you’re stuck with the entry-level title you came in with (even though your salary has most definitely not stayed the same), and you’re worried that if you put that junior-sounding role on your resume, you’re only going to be eligible for roles that were appropriate when you were first starting out. You’ve learned so much since then and are far more qualified than your actual title suggests.

In this case, you’ll need to adapt your resume to close the gap between title and experience.

Redirect and Expand

There’s a really great way to navigate this challenging situation without being dishonest. Instead of putting production assistant on your resume, you put “Name of Company – Production Team – 3 Years.” You can always edit for clarity and communication so long as you’re not misleading or misrepresenting your background or experience.

If that type of clarification gets you an interview, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to explain how you started at the company, how the role and responsibilities evolved, and that because of the organization’s budget/protocol/whatever you never actually received a title change during your tenure there. In your resume, focus on the responsibilities and accomplishments and de-emphasize the titles. And remember that your resume is only one part of the job-search process.

That said, because it’s an important one, you do want to err on the side of caution with the information you include. If a company’s human resources department calls your current or former employers for confirmation of your work history, it’s generally looking for two things: your dates of employment and your title, making it a pretty bad idea to put down a position name that wasn’t actually bestowed on you.

Instead, make your resume about what you’ve done and what you’re capable of doing—avoid highlighting your actual title if you’re worried it’s going to knock you out of the running before you even have a chance to get dressed for the race.

Good luck!

The Answer to “Can I Change My Job Title on My Resume to Make it More Accurate?” | Stacey Lastoe via the Muse.

How to Get Over Imposter Syndrome

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

Recently landed a new promotion? Finally got that manager position you’ve been working towards for years? Been recruited by some top companies for great new roles (maybe even that dream job you’ve been waiting for)? Feel like you don’t deserve any of it?

Yes? Welcome to the club! You’re experiencing the often crippling effects of “imposter syndrome.” It happens to the best of us, even the most famous and successful people out there.

Imposter syndrome occurs when we feel like a fraud—when we feel that our successes are undeserved. We convince ourselves they’re based on luck, timing, or other factors outside of our control, instead of embracing the fact that we’re actually responsible for having made those successes happen. Imposter syndrome makes us think irrationally about our aptitudes and performance: We don’t believe we’ve excelled, and we don’t believe we deserve the rewards that come along with our success.

The irony is that the further you go in your career, the more opportunities there are for imposter syndrome to rear its ugly head. You didn’t get that promotion because you earned it, you got it because you were lucky. You didn’t get to lead that project because you had the most experience on the team—you got it because timing worked out. That dream job wasn’t offered because of your stellar resume—maybe you’re just a diversity hire.

The bad news is: It’s not likely you’ll ever be able to fully rid yourself of imposter syndrome. But the good news is: There are ways to combat it! You can train yourself to quickly identify it, manage it, and live to rise again.

Identify What’s Shaking Your Confidence

Is it your new job title? Is it a certain senior-level meeting you’ve been invited to attend? Is it a high-stakes project you’ve been asked to lead? What is it that’s making you feel doubtful?

In most cases, the answer will be obvious: I don’t deserve to lead this project because so-and-so is more experienced than I am. I haven’t worked at the company long enough. I only aced my last project out of luck or good timing. That spot where you’re underselling yourself is likely the root of the problem.

Once You’ve Identified the Confidence Culprit, Tell Someone

Pick someone you trust to talk about your waning self-confidence. If it’s a work problem, make sure to confide in someone who isn’t your co-worker or manager. Choose someone who sees you outside of that environment: He or she can identify when those feelings of fear are irrational and remind you of your strengths.

Remind Yourself of All of Your Achievements

If you don’t have an accomplishments box, start now by recounting your most recent accomplishments (or even better, get those achievements on your resume). Take a look at everything you’ve achieved, and reflect on all the hard work you’ve put in to get to where you are now. Embrace the fact that you got yourself to where you are. You’ve earned your spot—your accomplishments are proof of that.

Remind Yourself That the People Who Got You Here Are Incredibly Competent and They Did Not Make a Mistake

You did not pull a fast one on anyone. Your boss or hiring manager—who you may believe didn’t see the many gaps in your resume—is not an idiot. Don’t doubt the intelligence of those who have promoted you, hired you, or offered you opportunities. They have made deliberate choices based on your experience and potential. You really do deserve to be there.

Take a Risk

What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Write it down, say it out loud, tell someone else, and do it. The worst that can happen is that it doesn’t work. So what? Do the work and keep going. Don’t let imposter syndrome derail you from what’s rightfully yours.

Take a Hard Look at Your Language and Update It

Do you say “I feel” a lot? How about using “I think” to start your sentences? Have you been pitching ideas prefaced with “It might just be me, but?” Rein in that doubt! Update your language with more confident, assertive phrases, and you’ll start to believe in what you’re saying. Assume your questions are valid, and that you’re probably not the only one to have them. Try: “I have a question—and I’m sure I’m not the only one.” Champion your ideas through more assertive language.

Reframe Your Story by Writing it Down

Imagine you’re speaking at a conference and that you have to provide an introductory bio for the panelist moderator. What would you say, and how would you say it? Would you tout your accomplishments or brush them off as if they were insignificant? Take an afternoon to write out your personal story. Who are you and how did you get to where you are? Let yourself shine on paper. Then, accept that it’s all true.

Try Mentoring

Guess what, imposter syndrome sufferer? You have expertise to share. Share it with someone who needs it. Not only will you realize how much knowledge you really do have, you’ll also likely uncover new strengths in the process. Mentoring can reveal skills you took for granted or mistakenly assumed came from luck. It’s empowering to know you are helping someone in their journey.

Take Solace in the Truth That Imposter Syndrome Is a Symptom of Success

Famous actors, authors, artists, CEOs—the most successful people are those most likely to have imposter syndrome. If you’re feeling like a fraud, believe it or not, you are doing something right. So play your pump up jams. Say your personal mantra. Do your power pose. You’ve got this.

No matter how successful someone is or has been, no one is free from lingering doubts regarding their own abilities. It’s easy to get sidelined by worry about your own competency, concerned that everything you have earned is due to luck, deception, or blindness on the part of managers, rather than your own talent. But whenever your confidence wanes, keep that list of accomplishments on your resume firmly in your mind… let the successes of the past serve as the foundation for your future success, not as excuses to fall short or reasons to doubt.

Good luck!

How to Banish Imposter Syndrome and Embrace Everything You Deserve | Ximena Vengoechea via The Muse.

How to Know if You’re Under-Qualified or Unqualified for a Job

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

At some point in your life, you’ve probably passed up the opportunity to apply for a job because you didn’t think you were an exact match. You’ve also, at one time or another, probably thrown your hat in the ring for a role that you thought you’d be able to learn on the clock, even though the qualifications were way above where you were in your career.

These are somewhat extreme examples, but both illustrate the challenge of knowing when you’re just a little under-qualified and when you should say, “This is great, but probably for someone else” because you are not at all qualified.

Here are a few signs to look for when you’re unsure if you should apply, to help clear things up:

You’re Probably Not Qualified at all if…

You Only Have One Qualification

Most of us have made this mistake plenty of times early on in our careers. You identify the one requirement on a job listing that you have and say to yourself, “Hey, this is perfect for me. I’m smart and can learn the rest as I go.” However, as much as employers understand that candidates won’t know everything there is to know about a role, there is an expectation that they’ll know a majority of the things they need to do it well. If you’re on the other side of the equation and don’t have experience in most of the bullet points of a description, roll up your sleeves and get the experience you need before getting your hopes up too high.

The Company Wants Someone to Hit the Ground Running

The truth is that sometimes, companies just need someone who is (mostly) qualified to do a job and hit the ground running. It’s not illegal to source this way, and when the need is intense enough, it’s perfectly understandable for a company not to be as willing to take on someone more junior. When I was recruiting, we’d make it clear when we just could not support someone who didn’t have the experience we needed. If you notice a job posting that’s very clear about this, don’t spend too much time debating whether or not to apply.

The Gig is a Senior Level Role in a New Field

I’m all for pursuing a career change. I’ve done in a handful of times, and it took a couple of tries to get it just right. However, let’s say you want to switch from a finance role to a marketing role. That’s great, especially if you’ve done your research and understand what that’ll take. However, if you’re in a manager-level finance position and are looking exclusively at manager-level marketing jobs, you’ll quickly discover that being a more senior person in one industry doesn’t automatically qualify you for the same level in another.


You Might Only be a Little Under-Qualified if…

There Are Only One or Two Qualifications You Don’t Have

I’d argue that you’d be hard-pressed to find a recruiter who only interviews candidates who check off every single bullet point on a job listing. If you find your dream job and notice that you don’t have experience in an obscure technology (that you’re sure you can learn), this is not something that should keep you from applying. In fact, a candidate who has just one missing qualification makes many recruiters say, “Oh thank goodness. This person’s learning curve will be incredibly small.” So, go ahead and submit an application.

The Company Prefers Lifelong Learners

All of the things that you should consider before applying for a job that you’re slightly under-qualified for still apply, but many companies make it a point to explicitly state that they support people who seek out learning opportunities. If you find a job that you aren’t an exact match for at a company that encourages perpetual learning, don’t be afraid to throw your hat in the ring. And when you do, make it clear in your cover letter that you’re up to the task of learning as much as necessary—plus some—starting on day one.

The Only Thing Holding You Back is You

At the end of the day, it’s impossible not to look at a job that sounds amazing and think, “No matter how many qualifications I have, I’m nothing but an impostor.” And sure, there will be jobs at every point in your career that you’re just not qualified for yet. But in a lot of cases, the only thing holding you back is you—and mostly because you’re just convinced that you’re not qualified to do any job. If you’ve looked at a handful of gigs that sound incredible, only to pass out of a fear of being rejected, take the leap and throw your hat in the ring.

Of course, no matter how explicit the job description is, or how much you know about the company and your own capabilities, it’s not possible to know for sure, in advance, where you stand with a stretch role. Sometimes you find what looks like your dream job, and when you do, it’s hard not to send your resume and cover letter immediately. However, it can also be deflating to get your hopes up, only to get no response from the company.

So be bold, but also be smart when you’re applying for jobs when you don’t check all the boxes. And as difficult as some of these points might be to hear now, you’ll eventually get the idea when you should go ahead and submit an application.

Good luck!

How to Know if You’re Under-Qualified or Unqualified for a Job (There’s a Difference) | Richard Moy via The Muse.

What To Do When You Think You’re Underpaid

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Sometimes your job search starts because of positives: a desire for a better role, looking for career advancement, or relocation to a new city. Other times, though, what initiates your search is something far less pleasant: retrenchment, a terrible boss, or, as in the case of our article today, being underpaid.

Finding out that you’re the lowest paid person on your team even though you do the same (or more!) work than your colleagues can be a pretty discouraging discovery. Before you decide to jump ship, of course, you should definitely bring the issue up to your manager. How you do it, however, is what makes the difference between getting a raise or getting fired. Thankfully, it’s not as difficult as it may seem.

If you’ve “discovered” that you’re underpaid, it’s likely either because someone else you work with let it slip, or because you did the research yourself at a site like Glassdoor and found that the average salary for your role at your company—or in the industry as a whole—is higher than what you’re making. Now it’s time to do a little homework.

Are You Really Underpaid, or Is It Perception?

The first thing you shouldn’t do with this information is assume that because you’re making less than your colleagues that you’re underpaid. You’ll need more evidence than that if you go to your manager, so before you get too angry or go off half-cocked, do a little digging. Glassdoor is a great resource for salaries, but it’s also a good resource for information on what different roles are like at various companies. Read the reviews there, and while some of them are undoubtedly people looking for a place to vent about their misgivings, the reviews can shed some light on what the day-to-day responsibilities are at a given company.

Head over to the company’s website and see if there are any open positions for the job you currently have. Usually a job description is included, and you’ll be able to see how similar another company’s “systems analyst,” for example, is to the same title where you work. It’s possible they’re very different, and have different required skills and responsibilities. Do the same digging with your current position—if you did find out something you weren’t intended to learn from a coworker, let them know you don’t want to talk money, but you do want to talk about your day-to-day. Bounce your daily responsibilities back and forth, and see if there are discrepancies that might account for the salary differential—your colleague may be working on special projects, or have skills you don’t. To be fair, the opposite may be true—you may discover they do less than you do, and get paid more. All of this is good evidence to help your case when you approach your manager.

2. Be Diplomatic

Armed with this information, hold a scheduled meeting with your manager to discuss your “career path,” in an informal—but private—discussion. Without tipping your hand that you learned from your coworkers that they’re making more money than you are and avoiding direct comparisons between you and your colleagues, instead present the evidence you’ve collected that proves that your boss should reconsider your salary.

Show them the Glassdoor salary numbers, and let them know that you’ve taken the time to investigate how your position differs from others in your industry. Let them know that you understand how your work differs from your colleagues and highlight some of the ways you’re indispensable to your coworkers, either because you have special skills that no one else has or because everyone comes to you for help or guidance. Point out some of the high-profile and critical projects and duties you have on your shoulders because you’re the best person for the job—or because no one else can do the work the way you can.

Finally, let your boss know that you’re open to understanding if there’s some reason why you’re paid less (a good feint, even if you’re really raging inside) by comparison even with all of this evidence on the table. Your manager may not be able to explain it right away, or they may not even have the power to set salaries in the first place—it’s possible there are other circumstances that have nothing to do with your work or your boss (for example, your other colleagues came from different departments, there’s something about their work history or education that tips the scales in their favor that’s confidential, etc,) but they should at least be willing to hear you out, especially since you’ve collected the evidence needed to make your case, and as long as you’re diplomatic about the way you present it. With luck, they may be able to make an adjustment to your salary to address the discrepancy. Even if it’s not as much as you hoped, it may be something.

3. Don’t Expect the World

A case study of how this strategy can pay off (for better or for worse):

“I’ve seen this method work—one of my best friends was an assistant to our old CIO, and when she discovered that she was underpaid by about 20% compared to other assistants that did less than she did, she wasn’t too happy about it. She collected personal stories, job descriptions, and even drew up a list of those ‘other duties as assigned’ she wound up getting that she never bargained for. When she put it all in front of him, he was taken aback, but he gave her a raise. The tradeoff was that her next scheduled raise would be off of her old base pay, but she got the money, and the recognition for the additional work she had been doing.”

This won’t work for everyone, and at the end of the day, if your manager isn’t receptive to this type of conversation, you may not want to bring it up in the first place—especially if you’re worried your company may use the conversation as a way to find out that you’ve been talking about your salary to other employees, which can be enough to get you fired in many places. You’ll have to make the call as to whether it’s worth bringing it up, or looking for one of those other positions with a higher average salary instead—but if you like your company and your job, or just don’t want to go to the hassle of leaving, a little negotiation may be worth a try before you do something drastic. It will be a difficult conversation, but it can be worthwhile.

4. Move On

After all of this, if your boss and your current company seem unwilling to offer a raise, then it might very well be time to move on to a new position. Of course, salary isn’t the only reason to work at a particular company but if you feel you’re being underpaid, it can be difficult to remain motivated at work. And unless your manager provides a solid reason behind it, you may be justified in assuming your value to the company is not appreciated.

But you’re already ahead of the game in regards to your job search because you’ve already researched salary information for your industry and roles at other companies. You’ve also done a thorough investigation of your own responsibilities and accomplishments so you can effectively update your resume to better reflect your background. Time to reach out to your network (which you’ve hopefully been cultivating) to see where the grass is greener.

Negotiating a raise can be nerve-wracking. Sometimes, it feels like your employer has all the power and fear of losing what you have can make you reticent to demand more. And if you already lack confidence, it can feel very much like Oliver Twist asking, “please sir, may I have some more?”

So it’s important to keep in mind those valuable contributions you’ve made – the objectives you clinched, those impossible deadlines you met, that money you saved the company – and remember your value. Even if your employer doesn’t appreciate those things, you should.

Good luck!

What To Do When You Think You’re Underpaid | Alan Henry via Lifehacker.

5 Things That Keep PhDs From Getting Jobs

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

So we’re venturing out into a bit of an esoteric topic this week, covering a rare but difficult job seeker, trapped halfway between academia and the real world: the PhD graduate looking to leverage their background into a career in business.

Starting a new career can be a confusing process for any professional, especially if you’re transferring into a new industry. The path is especially difficult for PhDs trying to transition into a career in business. This is because the worlds of academia and business are very different. It’s also because most Universities offer little or no career training for graduate students. As a result, newly minted PhDs who opt out of academia are tossed into the business world with no clue how to navigate it. They’re given a few networking tips and told to send out resumes over and over again. But nothing happens. In fact, the number of PhDs who will have a business job at or soon after graduation is below 40%. And the number of Life Sciences PhDs who will have a business job at graduation is below 20%. The truth is most PhDs will never get a job in business even though they’re doing all the right things. The problem is they’re doing the wrong things too. The key to starting a great career in business learning what not to do. Here are 5 things to avoid:

1. Networking with your competitors only.

Most PhDs network exclusively with other PhDs. That’s like dressing up as a needle and jumping into the middle of a haystack. You’re never going to be noticed at these events. You’ll never stand out. Everyone is just like you. Not only that, the people at these events want the exact same jobs as you. You’re not going to hear about any job opportunities because the other PhDs are going to keep those job opportunities to themselves. Now, consider going to a networking event outside of your direct field of interest. Let’s say you go to a meet-up for architects, lawyers, business executives, painters, real estate agents, etc. First, the people you meet are going to be impressed that you have a PhD. “Wow, a PhD, I haven’t met another doctor here before.” When’s the last time you heard that? You’ll never hear it in a crowd full of PhDs.

Second, because you’re different, you’ll be memorable. If someone at that event hears of a PhD-specific opportunity or knows of one already, they’re going to tell you. They have no reason not to tell you because their interests are different than your own. When networking, go to events where you’ll stand out and where you won’t be seen as a threat. As a side note, this is also one of the biggest reasons you should learn how to network in graduate school. When you’re student, no one sees you as a threat. But as soon as you enter the job market, you get a target put on your forehead. Now, no one wants to share information with you. Now, information comes at a price.

2. Inflating your title and your attitude.

A lot of PhDs think playing up certain things on their resume or CV will help them connect with people at networking events and get a job. But it won’t. It just turns people off. Besides, if you have a PhD, it’s not a lack of hard skills or credibility that will keep you from getting a job in business. It’s a lack of communication skills and a limited network that will keep you from getting a job. Instead of inflating your title or acting defensive about what you’ve accomplished, be real. Talk about the real people and companies you’ve worked with or the real learning experiences you’ve had. Then talk about what you really want and what you’re willing to do to get it.

3. Waiting for other people to contact you.

No one is going to chase you down to get a job. This might happen later on in your career but not when you’re in graduate school or doing a postdoc. The ball is always in your court. It’s up to you and you alone to drive the hiring process forward. No one will do it for you. Especially if you’re trying to transition from academia to business. The fact that you’re changing industries adds a new, extra-heavy layer of inertia to the process. This means you’ll have to follow up with people you meet at networking events, follow up with hiring managers before interviews, follow up with them afterwards, follow up, follow up, follow up. Following up is the only activity that people in business respect. And it’s the only activity that will remove the many barriers standing between you and the job you want.

4. Be an interviewee and not an interviewer.

Most PhDs prepare for interviews like they’re preparing for a test. They study up on potential questions they might get asked or they practice a short chalk talk, obsessing over formal inquiries they think they’ll get from the audience. The problem is that employers of top companies don’t care how you handle their questions as much as they care about how you handle yourself. No one is going to sit across from you with a big red buzzer waiting for you to give a wrong answer to some technical question. Employers don’t want to know if you can recite information, they want to know if you can you find problems, find solutions, and communicate them both effectively.

Getting an interview is an invitation to interview a company, not an invitation for you to be interviewed. The best way to show you can find the problems and solutions is to turn the tables on the interviewer. Don’t let them interview you. Interview them. Investigate them. Ask them about their company and the position you’re up for like you’re digging for gold. Seek out everything there is to know and really determine whether or not this job is right for you—not the other way around.

5. Undervaluing yourself.

If you don’t see yourself as valuable, why should anyone else see you as valuable? A lot of graduate students and postdocs go into interviews ready to accept anything that’s offered to them. This is a mistake. Employers can always tell if you’re desperate. They’re going to assume you’re desperate by default because you’ve been working for almost nothing in academia for years. It’s up to you to prove to them, and yourself, that you’re not desperate. You have to know your own value. Remember, you’re highly trained. You’re in the top 2% of the world in terms of education and academic training. The key is being confident in yourself and your worth without acting defensive or like you’re entitled to anything. This can be hard. Especially if you’ve been mistreated by your academic advisor or beat down by the academic system in anyway.

Put some time into understanding you’re worth and showing it in the right way. Start thinking and acting differently than most of the other PhDs who are trying to get a job in business. Go to networking events outside your field, follow up with people consistently, prepare for interviews as the interviewer—not the interviewee—and, most importantly, be yourself.

Good luck!

If You’re A PhD And Do This, You’ll Never Get A Job | Isaiah Hankel, Ph.D. via Cheeky Scientist.

5 Tips for Getting a Job After You’ve Been Fired

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

A lot of the advice on this site is committed to cultivating proactive job seeking skills, so that you are in as much control of your career as possible. It’s always better to plan ahead, having your resume ready and interview skills finely tuned, so when great jobs come along you’re ready. That way, you can positively navigate your career path rather than suffer at the mercy of fortune.

Sometimes, unfortunately, even with the best laid plans, circumstances end up outside of your control. Getting fired can feel like the end of the world, and a complete derailment of everything you’ve worked towards, but it doesn’t have to mean you’ll never work again. Take a deep breath, remind yourself it was just a job, and use these five tips to help you land your next gig.

1. Try to get a reference.

Depending on why you were fired and who gave you the axe, you may want to see if you can still get a reference from your former employer. Being gracious and taking full responsibility for the reason of your termination, whether or not you agree with the reason, will go a long way.

To take it a step further, follow up with a thank-you note post-termination thanking the employer for the time you were employed, restating that you understand their decision and that business is business and you hope you two can keep in touch going forward. Whenever possible, it’s important to keep things businesslike and polite. Your employer will be less inclined to speak negatively if you leave on a positive note.

2. Look for outside references.

It’s more likely that you won’t be able to get a reference from the employer who fired you, so it’s important to develop your network. You need other people who know your abilities and can confidently recommend you.

Make use of your new-found free time in ways that will make you more appealing to employers and help you network with new people. For example, join a professional development group, volunteer in the community, and intern at a company in your chosen career field. Having current references who can talk about your skills will help you as you start your search for a new job.

3. Keep your head in the game.

You may want to take a break and nurse your wounds, but it’s important to keep busy and not let the gap in your resume grow.

Immediately enroll in a course, preferably an academic or technical course, to help eliminate complete gaps in employment. Also, develop a list of professionals who you can trust, with a solid knowledge of your work ethic, who can connect you to opportunities without judging the fact that you’ve been fired.

4. Choose your words carefully.

As you search for a new job, be careful about how you talk about having been fired. Comments such as ‘differences in opinion,’ ‘differences in working philosophies’ or ‘differences in creative direction’ or ‘downsizing’ or ‘were made redundant’ are all explanatory when you have been terminated from a previous job. After all, you were fired for some reason.

Whatever you do, though, don’t attack your supervisor. If you had differences with your supervisor, that’s okay. If you couldn’t deal with them, that may have been okay, too, depending on the circumstances. But personal attacks? They’re a no-no.

5. Reassess and reinvent.

Getting fired can shake your very identity, so it’s important to reassess yourself and your goals. Take the time to evaluate where your success has been in the past, and reinvent your job search to look for a whole new change of focus. Don’t be afraid of looking at education or certification in the new path.

You may have to ask yourself some hard questions about your expectations and what you’re looking for, as well. Really take the time to look within yourself and determine why the job didn’t work. This will provide an opportunity during your next interview for you to discuss why the job was not a fit for you or the company, and how you feel your strengths can be better served in the new area. Essentially, look to take the negative of a termination and use it as a positive for your next position.

So being fired isn’t the end of the world… it might even be an opportunity in disguise. But however you choose to look at things, don’t panic and make sure you effectively position yourself for your next job.

Good luck!

5 Tips for Getting a Job After You’ve Been Fired | Catherine Conlan via Monster

Avoiding Job Search Burnout

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

We are continuing with our theme this week of stress in the job search.

After working as a recruiter for more than 10 years, I’ve seen firsthand the toll a long, drawn-out job search can take, whether on a new graduate or someone who has been in the field for decades. Sometimes it’s the strain of being out of work longer than anticipated or not being invited for interviews at all or not receiving offers or even returned calls… all of this can make it tough to keep your spirits up.

Even worse, your confidence in your own abilities may fade over time, leading to a crushed spirit that can further negatively affect how recruiters and hiring managers perceive you.

For those of you experiencing a particularly difficult or long job search, here are a few tips to avoid the dreaded “job search burnout”:

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1. Ask for feedback. If you’ve been on the hunt for a while without much progress, step back. Talk to professionals with whom you have a strong and trusting relationship, like a former boss or your recruiter. They get it, and they get you. Ask for, and be ready to hear, specific, constructive feedback and request a mock interview.

Are there things you could be doing differently? Questions you could be answering better? Follow-up that could be stronger?

Their feedback could mean all the difference, and the positive comments they’ll share will be a nice boost to your confidence.

2. Get the inside scoop. Talk with people in your network to learn more about the industry you’re interested in and any changes or trends they’re seeing. What they’re hearing and experiencing on the front lines could be just the spark you need to shift your approach and pick up some momentum.

By the end of your conversation, there’s a good chance you will feel more relaxed, have more confidence and be inspired to excel in your search.

3. Change your approach. Have you been interviewing a lot without much progress? It might be time to change things up.

Are you coming across as bored with the process? Do your answers sound rote? Did you not notice your interview outfit is rumpled or stained? Prepare for your next interview with these potential pitfalls in mind.

Take out your iron and stain stick; come up with fresh, new answers; add energy and enthusiasm to your voice; use real-life examples anytime you can and be mindful of your body language. These small tweaks will help you come across as excited and engaged.

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4. Fake it ’til you make it. If you’re feeling downtrodden going into your next interview, fake it. Smile and be ready to greet the interviewer highlighting your best qualities. Make every interview an opportunity to not only get a job, but to polish your interview skills and build your confidence.

5. Find commonalities. Search for your interviewer on LinkedIn and discover common ground. Maybe you’ll find that you both know some of the same people or enjoy volunteering. Whatever you share, remember that people want to work with people they like, and discussing commonalities with your interviewer is an effective and authentic way to start building the relationship.

6. Fit matters. While it’s appropriate to strive for jobs that may be slightly out of your reach, doing that too often could lead to too much rejection. To keep your job search on track and your spirits high, go after positions that are an ideal fit for your background, experience and interests. Save the long-shot interviews for the one or two employers that really spark a fire in you.

7. Try some retail therapy. Sometimes, if you are feeling lackluster, a new pair of shoes, a fresh haircut, a fun accessory, a new tech gadget or an updated suit will give you the extra confidence and excitement to ace an interview. Walk in with some swagger, and let the interviewer know why you’re the best person for this role. You might be convincing enough to get hired.

If you’ve spent months in what feels like a fruitless search for a new job, don’t lose heart! The opportunities are out there. Try something new, challenge yourself, and step out of your comfort zone. A great job is waiting for you somewhere.

Good luck!

7 Ways To Avoid Job Search Burnout | Sarah Connors via Forbes

How to Overcome a Job-Hopping History

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

Maybe you’ve had to move around a lot for your spouse’s career. Maybe you just can’t seem to find a company or a job title or a career that suits you. Or maybe your career so far has been one long “series of unfortunate events”, enduring economic downturns, companies going bankrupt, and massive layoffs.

However you explain it, if your resume seems to show you moving around quite a bit, that is usually seen as a red flag by hiring managers and HR. If a company is trying to invest in the long-term, bringing on someone who seems to leave their job every few months is certainly not going to meet those hiring KPIs instituted by management.

So how do you overcome the stigma attached to you and your resume, with a career you cannot simply undo or pretend didn’t happen? There are several tactics you can use, depending on the reasons for your moves, your industry, and your discipline.

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You have an unstable work history, having held several jobs in a relatively short period. How can you try to prevent potential employers from holding your job-hopping past against you?

You can minimize the appearance of job-hopping by focusing your resume on your career history rather than your job history.

The biggest hurdle is getting noticed because recruiters usually screen out people with a choppy employment past.

It is easier to overcome a choppy history if you are young and just starting out. It’s more acceptable for those under 30 to move around, so I don’t think they need to address it, unless there are big gaps in their resume.

And, of course, you will have an easier time if your recent departures resulted from mass layoffs at previous employers. You can emphasize this point in your cover letter or add a few parenthetical words about it on your resume, such as “(one of 700 employees downsized 11/01)” or “(company acquired by ACME in 1/09)” after the job title or company name.

How should a resume deal with short periods of employment?

The dates of those jobs don’t have to jump off the page. They can go in parentheses after the job title, the company name or at the very end of the job description. You can also use years only, rather than months and years.

It’s also fine to eliminate one or two jobs from your resume. For example, if you took a position and two months later decided that it wasn’t for you, it’s probably best not to include it. It’s not that you’re ashamed of it, but it’s not the most relevant information you need to share in your resume.

If you do keep a job off your resume, be prepared in the interview to explain why. As long as you’re being truthful, you can answer that the job didn’t add a lot of value and you wanted to include more meaningful experiences and accomplishments.

Use a cover letter to explain your reasons for switching jobs — something that is difficult to do in a resume. But first, tell the employer why you are an exceptional candidate, summarizing your background — including the number of years you have been in the industry — and the results of your work.

After that, acknowledge that you have held several jobs in a short period and address each with a line of explanation. Keep the explanations short. Remember, you are selling yourself, not defending your candidacy.

Aren’t there some industries where moving around often is expected?

If you work with start-up companies, frequent job changes are almost de rigueur, because start-ups often fail or are acquired by other companies. Especially in the biotech and technology industries where there are many start-ups, it’s O.K. to move around. If you do consulting work on a project basis, it is expected that you would be switching jobs fairly often.

For certain technology positions, like computer programmer and software developer, the length of time at each job is almost irrelevant. The breadth of experience is far more important.

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How should you handle questions about your job history during an interview?

Focus on your accomplishments and stress your years of experience. Managers value accomplishments that have been repeated. If a person can demonstrate they have had repeated success in their jobs, they may be more attractive than a person with years of experience at only one organization.

If you were fired from a job, discuss it in a way that shows you have come to terms with it. Don’t be defensive about it. If you were at fault, acknowledge it, and discuss what you could have done differently.

If you cannot persuade hiring managers to look past your job history, are there other potential ways to get an interview?

This is especially hard at the executive and senior levels of employment. A pattern of short jobs is a show-stopper. No amount of resume editing will help — there is simply no way to dress it up.

Instead of answering ads, focus on networking because a personal connection is more likely to persuade an employer to give you the benefit of the doubt. Your network includes friends, family, current and former co-workers and former supervisors.

You need someone who will give you a break. That’s usually someone who knows you and your work and has a reason to take a leap of faith.

So you’re not doomed if you’ve moved around a lot, though it will definitely be a struggle to get past the stigma associated with being labeled a job-hopper. By being honest, addressing the reasons directly in interviews and on your resume, and understanding the nature of your chosen industry and discipline, you can overcome it and perhaps even portray it as an asset rather than a liability.

Good luck!

How to Overcome a Job-Hopping History | Eilene Zimmerman via the New York Times

Escape a Miserable Career in a Bad Job Market

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

As a recruiter, I’ve heard it hundreds of times over the years: You’re tired of your job, your boss is a nightmare, no raises or bonuses in forever, you feel totally under-appreciated, and you’re really, really ready to move on.

Friends and colleagues, and so-called “industry experts”, however, will likely caution you that it’s really not the best time to make a career change; “wait until the job market stabilizes,” they’ll say, just in case you end up without a job at all.

The problem is, how long does it pay to remain unhappy out of fear? Maybe the market will never be “perfect” again… maybe our whole understanding of employment is transforming (and not for the better). Maybe now is the best time… you can’t know until you try.

So here are some tips for successfully leaving your job and finding a new one:

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Get closer to the industry you’re interested in.

The first thing to ask yourself when considering a career change is: what feeds your soul? What interests you? In what sort of environment and in which field do you think you would flourish? Sites like CareerQA can give you overviews of different fields and tell you what kind of experience and education you’ll need to break in.

Finding a part-time position in a business related to where you’d eventually like to wind up full-time is the perfect transition. Say you want to become a dental hygienist. Securing a part-time job working the front office for a dentist would be a great choice. Part-time front office work will help pay the bills as you’re taking dental hygienist classes and working towards your certification.

Being in the environment in which you’d eventually like to find yourself will do wonders for your self esteem, not to mention keeping you in the loop for possible full-time employment down the line.

Use downtime and grouping.

If you absolutely must keep your current job during the transition to another career, you’re probably going to end up doing a decent amount of job-searching while at work. That means you need to be quick and efficient to avoid angering your current employers. Sign up for notifications from job sites that have positions you want so that you don’t have to constantly search.

Job hunting on weekends isn’t out of the question, either. If you want to get into the restaurant or hotel business, for example, nearly all restaurants and hotels are open Saturdays and Sundays, and there are usually people in upper management positions there to meet with you. Also, more and more businesses are accepting applications online, where you can apply 24/7/365.

If, while still working at your current job, you apply for a new position and prospective employers can only see you during the week, try to group as many interviews in a single day as possible, then take a vacation day (or a sick day) at work. This will afford you the opportunity of meeting with new potential employers without sneaking off for mid-day interviews.

Once you’ve found a position you like and you’re offered the job, it’s time to leave your old place of employment. No matter how bad the situation was, don’t burn any bridges! Whether it’s for a reference or a legal matter that arises later on, your old employer may come in handy in the future, so you don’t want there to be any bad blood.

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Go it alone.

Don’t have the qualifications to land a job in your chosen career field? Make your own employment opportunity: freelance on the weekends. It’s not an option for all fields, but you can find opportunities for everything from web design to marketing online.

Or you can start your own business. Depending on the amount of money required for start-up costs, you may need to save up, get a loan, or find an investor. You should also make sure you have 6 months to a year of living expenses, since many businesses take a long time to earn a profit.

Ready to take the leap into entrepreneurship? Don’t do so unarmed. Be sure to learn as much as you can about your chosen field.

Quitting your job may be one of the most important (and possibly best) decisions you’ll ever make. You deserve to be happy! Don’t let necessity and fear stagnate your career and your life.

Good luck!

How to Get out of a Miserable Career in a Bad Job Market | Juliana Weiss-Roessler via Lifehack