Blog Archive - September 2015
Bloomberg reports today on careers that offer significant pay increases. Most workers are looking at minimal salary increases even though the unemployment rate has fallen. Workers in technology and finance have seen wages grow between 4-10%. What can you do to earn more? For most working people, especially those with college degrees, the best way to earn more is to find a new job. In many cases, new employers tend to offer more than current employers. Another way is to try to take the next step up the career ladder. Two clients who are clients in the grocery industry have told me that they have hired department managers with little experience. Why did they do this? Turnover. As the job economy heats up, there is more opportunity to move up because the experience employees are less available. If you’re unhappy with your current income, find a way to make a move.
USA Today offers a great article on people to have to move for a new job. 15% of executives and managers had to move to take a new position. The article attributes this situation to two factors: an improving economy and job seekers’ willingness to move. Many of my clients can’t move because of family commitments. Those who can expand the market for their services. In a job market where salaries are still tight, moving to another city can be a way to earn more money. Relocation should be an option in a good career management strategy.
Albert Einstein's genius extended in many directions, including how to write. Einstein gave this advice: "If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to to the tailor."
In my writing, I try to use language that is plain and direct. Too often, I read resumes that are cluttered with details that are not relevant to hiring managers. In many cases, clients use jargon that will only be understood by their current employer, the job they want to leave. How can you avoid this problem? Read what you write through the eyes of you intended audience. For resumes, that means recruiters and hiring managers. Use language that speaks to what they need and understand. Simple and clear wins the day.
Diane Ravitch examines new tests results from Illinois, which have been released with dire warnings about “failure.” Ravitch puts this story in the context of current trends in education. She is very strong as an advocate for teachers in a time when many forces are attacking some of our country’s most talented and dedicated employees. Is the test (PARCC) a true measure of what students are learning and teachers are teaching? Or is it a tool to promote education “reform”?
I was recently working with a client I'll call Mary. She was very worried about having been out of work for two years while she was an at home parent. Following the advice of a resume book, Mary wanted to "hide" her time out of work by talking about volunteer work that was unrelated to her career in sales. I told her that this was a bad idea. Instead, we used one line to inform potential employers why Mary was out of work and what she was doing. The rest of her resume focused on her 10 year career in sales and her many achievements. Most employers will understand that some very good employees take time off to care for children or sick relatives. Rather than telling them about experience that has nothing to do with the job they need to fill. Mary was focused in her job search, and she landed a job in a little over a month.
Over the past few months, I’ve heard two radio commercials that are very interesting. Both are targeting employers and offering web-based solutions for recruiting new employees. The two companies sponsoring these ads are Zip Recruiter and Pro Jobs Network. The fact that these companies exist and are advertising shows that the job market is tight for small and mid-sized businesses. Employers need to have another company recruit and screen candidates. It’s easy to focus on negative news like major corporations laying off thousands of employees. At the same time, we need to remember that most Americans work for small and mid-sized companies. As long as online recruiting companies are advertising, it’s safe to assume that they are hiring. That’s good news for the economy and American workers.
P.S. Zip Recruiter offers functions that job seekers can use to search for jobs. Pro Jobs Network is only for employers.
I was reading a local publication in which a job coach was giving people advice on when and how to use employer resources during a job search. My approach is different: Never use an employer-owned computer, tablet, or phone as part of your job search. In many states, including Illinois, an employer can fire you if it learns that you're looking for another job. Does that every happen? Rarely -- but it can happen. More likely, an employer who knows that you're looking for work would make your life miserable and try to make you quit.
What's the solution? Never use an employee-owned device for you job search. Purchase a computer and phone that you can use for private matters. Another reason to do this is ethical. Put yourself in the employer's place: How would you feel if an employee were using your devises and paying for service that lets you look for another employer? A final thing to think about, if you were terminated without notice, what would you do to keep your job search going. You'd have to buy a phone and computer. Start by doing that, and you'll have no worries about what your employer will do.
Negotiating with a prospective employer is never easy. Most people don't even attempt to negotiate because they are afraid an offer will be pulled. However, when job seekers chose to negotiate, they often get more than the initial offer. This is especially true when they are willing to walk away from an offer.
A few months ago one of my clients received a job offer, but needed to have relocation costs paid. We worked together to come up with a goal of $6,000. At the last minute, my client changed her mind, and she told the employer that she would need $8,000 to relocate. The manager handling her recruiting said they could not meet that request. My client said she could not accept the offer. She thought it was time to move on. The next day, the company called back with a revised offer that included $6,000 in relocation fees and an ability to work remotely for one month, which let my client avoid paying two rents. If my client had not stuck to her guns, she got most of what she wanted. On the other hand, she did risk losing the job.
More recently, a client who is a manager with a small non-profit received a low ball offer from a large national corporation. She told the recruiter that the offer would have to be significantly increased. The next day the recruiter called with a $10,000 increase. My client compared her current position to what the new employer would ask of her. She also underscored the value she would bring to the employer. She did not ask for a specific amount, but told the recruiter that the offer would need to be improved. Two days went by. My client thought she had pushed things too far. She was wrong. The next day the manager called and increased the offer by another $10,000. She gambled and won.
I'm not recommending that every job seeker should take such drastic steps when negotiating. However, if you feel that an offer is not fair, you might want to consider taking a chance in your negotiation. There are no guarantees. Some companies will decide not to hire you. Others will recognize your value and give you what you're asking. Walking away is a big gamble that, in some cases, can have a bigger payoff.
The great UCLA basketball coach John Wooden said, “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
I agree with Wooden 100%. Many clients come to me almost paralyzed with areas of weakness and career obstacles. In almost every case, these people have been successful in their careers or just completed a new degree. My job, one I greatly enjoy, is helping them see what they have to offer. Most people have made great contributions to their employers. Their problem is telling the story. They think too much about what “they cannot do.” Instead, as Wooden recommended, the secret to know is what you do best. Play your strengths.
Writing in Huffington Post, Bill Quigley, a law professor, lists several sad facts facing American workers on this picnic day that is supposed to honor labor. I urge to you take a minute, review this list, and ponder its meaning. The one point I would like to underscore is this: While productivity increased 21% between 2000 and 2014, wages only increased 2%. To quote the Talking Heads, “Who took the money away?”