Tag Archives: job

Job Seekers - Summer Job Search

Job Seekers: 10 Tips For Summer Job Searches

Every year as summer approaches, most job seekers and career changers make the mistake of halting all their efforts. They believe there is no point in pursuing new opportunities during the summer, and that nobody is making hiring decisions until the fall.

Ford R. Myers, career coach, speaker and author of “Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring,” says, “Summer is no time for job seekers to be trading in their business suits for swimsuits or their briefcases for beach bags. Summer is the perfect time for career advancement.”

Myers offers the following 10 tips to help job seekers stave off the summer “brain drain” and focus on career success:

1. Create and Control Your Internet Image. Whether it’s LinkedIn, YouTube or Facebook, every professional should have an online presence. Many employers research job candidates on the Internet before making hiring decisions. Therefore, it is vitally important that you take control of your online identity and carefully monitor the “personal brand” you’re building on the Internet.

2.  Invest in Career Coaching. It might seem that career coaching would be a luxury in this difficult economic climate. Actually, this could  be the best time to get some career coaching. A qualified career coach can help you get totally clear on your objective, differentiate yourself from the competition, market yourself effectively, get the offer, and negotiate the best compensation.

3. Tune Into the Network.  Summer is one of the best times of the year to make new connections and find new opportunities. Contrary to popular belief, there are many summer networking events, planning meetings and social activities going on.

4.  Perform an Internal Career Audit.  Summer is a perfect time to take an honest look at your career – where you’ve been, where you are today, and where you’d like to go. Identify new goals based on your own definition of career success and then take action.

5.  Update Your Career “Tool Kit.” Most job seekers use only their résumé as the cornerstone of their search because their other “tools” are weak or nonexistent. But there are many other documents you should have in your “career tool kit” – accomplishment stories, positioning statement, one-page biography, target company list, contact list, professional references, letters of recommendation, and more.  These items are important not just to land the next job – but also to maximize your long-term career success.

6.  Solidify Relationships.  During the summer, most people are naturally more relaxed, convivial and generous in spirit. There is simply no better time to solidify existing relationships and forge new ones.

7.  Volunteer.  There are myriad volunteer opportunities available during the summer. This is a good way to help people, to feel good about making a difference, to have a renewed sense of purpose during your search, and to meet other professionals who may be able to help you.

8.  Call People.  Make new connections through your network and follow up with people you’ve already met. In many cases, people who are at work during the heat of the summer will not only be available for conversation, but will be grateful just to speak to someone.

9.  It is Better to Give Than to Receive.  The fastest and most effective strategy for getting help is to offer help to others. Ask the people in your network who they might like an introduction to or if there is any way that you can be of assistance to them professionally.

10. Become and Opportunity Magnet.  Always think and speak positively and never say anything negative. This will help you to become an opportunity magnet – poised to attract, interview and “hire” your next employer.

“If you are currently in career transition, these strategies should give you a fresh perspective on a summer job search. Instead of ‘taking a vacation’ from your career development activities, take full advantage of this overlooked opportunity to make real progress in your career quest,” adds Myers.

To find out more information about Ford Myers and how job seekers can improve their chances of getting a job, visit fordmyers.com.

Three business people standing together with arms around each other

Are You A Kind Boss?

Look in the mirror and ask yourself: What kind of boss are you? Do you resemble Cruella De Vil from “101 Dalmatians” – a heartless, puppy-snatcher who orders her hapless henchmen to carry out her cruel demands? Or are you more like Obi-Wan Kenobi in “Star Wars” — a dedicated, knowledgeable, soft-spoken Jedi Master with a wry sense of humor?

What are the characteristics of a good boss? While there are far too many traits to mention, here are the top three traits necessary to motivate workers:

A kind boss is someone who solves problems and manages conflict

Studies show that full-time employees spend nearly three hours per week dealing with conflict. Poorly managed conflict can bring serious problems to the workplace, including personal insults and attacks, sickness or absence, and can even lead to someone leaving the company. Instead of avoiding conflict, a good manager uses it as a means to produce a better solution to a workplace problem. Numerous books discuss how to deal with conflict. One that specifically deals with five primary styles of handling conflict is “Introduction to Conflict Management: Improving Performance Using the TKI” by Kenneth Thomas.

A kind boss is someone who practices direct, open communications

In this jobless recovery, employees spend nearly three hours a day worrying about job security. A survey by Lynn Taylor Consulting found that management may be unwittingly fueling this fear by staying behind closed doors: 76 percent of employees said that a closed door triggers thoughts of being laid off. Employees want more communication — whether good news or bad — because it makes them feel like they matter.

A kind boss is someone who invests in employees

A soft economy is the perfect time for managers to think of ways other than money to motivate employees. In a recent survey by SkillSoft, eight out of 10 employees stated they would have higher job satisfaction if they received more on-the-job training. Helping employees acquire new skills and assume greater responsibility to advance professionally is one of the most effective ways managers can promote loyalty, improve performance and build future leaders.

Pick the Right Employee

Hiring The Right People Is More Important Than Ever, But Are You Asking The Right Questions?

When the economy slows, companies tend to slow their hiring and expect more from their existing employees. It quickly becomes critical that employees perform up to these new, heightened expectations. For those positions that companies do hire for, selecting the right candidate becomes more important than ever. However, many hiring managers tend to ask the wrong questions, focusing the interview on traits that are very trainable versus those traits that a company cannot train.

Hiring managers tend to focus questions on experience for the position, systems knowledge, actual time spent doing the job with previous employers, etc. In fact, these are actually poor predictors of a candidate’s success in the workplace. Generally, only employees applying for professionally educated positions (e.g. engineers, chemists, attorneys, etc.,) are exempt from this best practice. So what should you focus your interview on?

Focus of questions
Center your questions on traits that take more effort to develop. Interview questions should dwell on attention to detail, the candidate’s passion for the job, their initiative, and their self-confidence, to name a few.

There are many hiring managers that value a relative lack of experience (and many human resource managers that agree). Candidates without experience tend to lack the bad habits typical of those with experience. It is often easier to train a green candidate from ground zero (sometimes called growing a candidate organically) versus “untraining” an experienced candidate’s bad habits and then inserting the desired habits. A candidate who has worked for several companies doing similar roles and is now in your office looking for a job may have a significant number of bad habits and has a track record of leaving previous employers for “employment competitors.”

Experience is one of the easier items to give a new hire. However, try giving a new employee stronger customer-service skills, greater self-confidence to deal with those problem vendors, or a hunger for doing a great job. Those are not easily trainable, so those traits are what an interview should focus on.

Types of questions
Spend your time asking the candidate behavior-oriented questions. Typically, these questions start with phrases like, “Tell me about a time when you …” or “Give me a specific example of a time when you …” When asking these behaviorally focused questions, it is critical that the candidate gives you one specific example. Further, ensure he isolates his role in his example; don’t allow him to use words such as “we” or “our.” If he does, ask him what his specific role. This helps ensure his answer provides you with the information you need.

The days of asking, “If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be and why” are over. The current trend is asking negative questions — questions that force a candidate to talk about her weaknesses. This helps you see her willingness to admit mistakes, how she has handled mistakes in the past, and — most importantly — what she has learned from those mistakes.

Sample questions
Putting these guidelines together is the key to a solid interview. Some general, behaviorally focused questions include:

Tell me about the last time you had a disagreement with a co-worker and what you did about it? — Listen to what the issue was over, how productive and mature the approach was, and what he specifically did to solve the problem. Candidates who have a passion for their work will work to resolve issues with co-workers and will keep the boss informed of personality clashes, typically without asking for intervention.

Tell me about the biggest mistake you made in the last 12 months and what you learned from it. — This negative question forces the candidate to take ownership for a relatively large mistake and should end with her telling you what steps she took to ensure a similar mistake (e.g. a time-management snafu, a relationship-building blunder, etc.) would not happen again. All employees make mistakes. Admitting them and taking corrective steps is the absolute most an employer can ask from their employees.

Give me your top three strengths and your biggest developmental need (weakness). — It is very telling to hear what a candidate believes are his behavioral strengths, as well as his biggest need. Listen for strengths that are traits you cannot teach a candidate (e.g. passion for the job, ability to work with others, etc.). Do not let candidates get away with telling you that their biggest need is that they work too hard or plan too much. Tell your candidate to dig deeper.

Interviews can be very useful at pulling out the different strengths and weaknesses of a candidate, as long as the interviewer is focused on the right personality traits and asks the right questions. Pull their experience from their resume, but pull their personality from their interview.