In this difficult economic time, everyone knows someone who is unemployed. With the jobless rate in the US at a staggeringly high percentage, it is understandable to feel a strong conviction to help in whatever way possible. What if you are working for a dynamic company that is flourishing and looking to expand? What if you have a close friend that would make a wonderful applicant? There are multiple things to consider before providing yourself as a reference for a friend’s aptitude for a position.
Carefully consider your friend’s goals and work experience. Review the job description and examine what about your friend would work in the position. Encourage your friend to follow the proper channels and submit their resume in the same way as every other applicant, even those without a personal connection to the company. Only approach the subject with your superiors if you are asked directly- do not approach them directly with a plea for your friend to be hired. You want your friend to be hired on account of their own merits, not for whom they know at the company. You also want to demonstrate to your company that you understand and respect the ethics of business.
Gather the facts.
Be objective with yourself regarding your motive for referring this person. Make a list of your friend’s strengths and how they fit the job description. Know their job history and be prepared to provide a reference. Examine your support. Are you referring them because you enjoy their presence and think they would make a nice addition to the office atmosphere? Are you referring them because you know they offer the commitment and drive the company deserves? Answer the questions honestly.
Don’t hold back.
If you don’t think your friend will fit in to the company’s atmosphere, or will believe in the company philosophies and practices, don’t be afraid to suggest alternative options. Encourage your friend to explore all aspects of the company- from your personal perspective to published reviews. Remember that you have a biased perspective, and your friend should research if this is the best decision to make at this time in their life.
If you make a well informed decision on referring your friend for a job at your place of employment, you do not have to worry about risk. You can stand by your recommendation and watch your friend succeed in the workplace. You can worry less about your friend’s negative impact on your company’s perception on you, but the positive reflection the suggestion of a new and dedicated employee can have. If for some reason it is not to be, you will feel comfortable knowing that you thought logically throughout the application process and didn’t recommend your friend on a whim. You should also keep in mind that if it is not meant to be, that it is in no way whatsoever a reflection on your ability to do your job or function in your company. Do not let your friend’s experience (negative or positive) influence the way you feel about your job and your contribution to it.
Society is in an ever evolving state of change. As new industries develop and older ones are outdated, the newest version of technology will quickly replace the methods used before. If you are considering a job change, or are new to the job market, you must keep up to date on the most dynamic and flourishing industries to apply to. Unfortunately, there are some industries that are on their way out.
Statistics show that as the population ages and manufacturing jobs lessen, the most growth in the next decade will come in service industries like health care or business services. Consult the guide below before investigating any new opportunities in these fields. All percentages provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics report released in the final weeks of December 2009.
Wired Telecommunications Providers
As the country becomes more and more wireless, land line phones and payphones are becoming obsolete. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that this industry will lose 11% of its employment opportunities by the end of the next decade. Companies like Total Telecom and Adtel Communications are among these providers.
Gas prices keep rising and stations become more self sufficient than ever. As this evolution continues and the dynamic markets of clean and alternative energy flourish, this industry is one that will not be as secure within the next decade.
Mining support agencies and companies are projected to lose around 23% of their current jobs within the next decade.
Internet publications are on the rise, and print media is in decline, however unfortunate that may be. Newspaper publishers are projected to lose 25% of their current job markets.
Apparel Manufacturing- cut and sew
Outsourcing to less expensive labor markets is the main reason that this industry is projected to lose 89,000 jobs in the next ten years.
Most companies are now choosing to “go green”- therefore eliminating paper products and exchanging more information electronically. Unfortunately, this also means eliminating about 16% of the jobs in the next decade.
With the elimination of paper goes the elimination of paper delivery. The postal service has been an embattled industry for years, and the Bureau predicts it will lose 13% of its employees in the next ten years.
Auto Parts Manufacturing
After this record year of auto industry flops, it is no surprise that the manufacturing side of the auto industry is projected to lose 19% of the 544,000 jobs it provided last year.
Semiconductor and Electronics Manufacturing
A projected loss of a massive 34% of its jobs in the next decade is sad news for an industry that generated such a spark in the last half century.
More people are shopping online or in low-cost bargain stores, rendering department store services obsolete. Although services industries are projected for growth, these relics of a bygone era will be cherished in memories alone as the industry is expected to lose about 10% of its overall job market.
If your job falls in one of these categories, maybe you should consider training of another sort, as backup. It’s better to be prepared for the unexpected… don’t you think?
I am a member of the Career Collective, a group of resume writers and career coaches. Each month, all members discuss a topic. Please follow our tweets on Twitter #careercollective
This month we are discussing helping job seekers navigate the new year. I encourage you to visit the links below to read other members’ posts as well! +++++
There’s been a lot of talk the past few years about jobs, the economy, and how bad things have been if you’re unfortunate enough to live on planet earth right now. For those with jobs, wages are depressed and security is low. For those without jobs, new ones are hard to find. It’s as though they’ve all been filtered out and what’s left is plain and boring, like a gold prospector whose sieve leaves the sand and sifts out the gold.
But there are always ways to be better at what you’re doing, even if what you’re doing means being unemployed. Here are a few solid suggestions for those in between incomes, and out of luck:
I once was told that “It’s better to have a dependable income than be fascinating.” I disagree.
The truth is, being fascinating is as dependable as income. Often people hire those they admire and engage well with, or just those they like to talk to. A friend of mine, for example, was in a tough spot: he quit the advertising business at the top level—chief executive—and now wanted to get back in, but he was overqualified for every job he applied for. What did he decide to do? Practice yoga. He began going to a Bikram Yoga center four times a week. In the locker room before the session, he would talk to the other people there, and eventually befriended many of them. One he liked so much, he invited him to lunch. This person, it turns out, was the head of a multi-million dollar company.
As they talked my friend found that this person really needed a lot of advice on how to run the company better; so my friend gave it to him, and pretty soon this person hired my friend in a senior position as Lead Strategic Officer of the company!
All this because my friend was (as all good friends should be) friendly, outgoing, and open to trying a new discipline—in this case, Yoga. Often, when people have worked in the same field for many years, their social networks become ossified. They know the same kinds of people in the same kinds of fields for years on end. Within this framework, losing a job can seem like a real nightmare, because everywhere you look, there are no new opportunities or people to ask about jobs. You already know everyone, and what they’re doing. This is why taking a new hobby—yoga, which happens to be a pretty social hobby, to boot—was such a good idea: he branched out of his social network and formed new ones. In these new networks he was a dynamic personality, a new voice, and he could see other people’s situations as an outsider. Thus he was able not only to find opportunities he never would have heard about within the staid network of his old employment, but he was also having a great time in a new adventure.
An underlying reason this worked for him is because many of his friends worked in the same field. If his own company couldn’t rehire him, chances are it’s because the entire field is suffering. And because everyone he knows was in the same field, none of them would be of much help in finding a new job. This is another reason why it was so wise to branch out, to look elsewhere, and to change careers. If one industry is sagging, another may not be.
When looking for a new job this year, the best thing you can do for yourself may be to look in an industry you’ve never thought of before by taking on a new hobby with an unlikely cast of strangers. Every one of these people share an interest you have (in my friend’s case, it was yoga) and one of them may be a door through which you can step to a new career.
Career Collective Member’s Posts:
@KCCareerCoach, Career Chaos, “The Art of Being Gracious: Much Needed in Today’s Job Search,”
@MartinBuckland, Elite Resumes, Career Trends and Transition 2010
@heathermundell, life@work, Kaizen and the Art of Your Job Search
@barbarasafani, Career Solvers, Looking Into the 2010 Careers Crystal Ball
@resumeservice, Resume Writing Blog, The Resume and Your Social Media Job Search Campaign
@kat_hansen, Quintessential Resumes and Cover Letters Tips Blog, New Year: Time to Assess Yourself and Your Career
@keppie_careers, Keppie Careers, Help for job seekers in a rut
@heatherhuhman, HeatherHuhman.com, Job seekers: 5 tips for making the most of 20
@DawnBugni, The Write Solution, Ya, but
@ErinKennedyCPRW, Professional Resume Services, Advice to Job Seekers in 2010–learn Yoga?
@Chandlee, The Emerging Professional Blog,
Starfish, JobAngels, and Making a Difference
@ValueIntoWords, Career Trend, Is Your Job Search Strategy a Snore?
@debrawheatman, Resumes Done Write, Making the most of a new year
@walterakana, Threshold Consulting, Starting anew – tips for truly managing your career
@careersherpa, Hannah Morgan: Career Sherpa, The Year of the Tiger
@WorkWithIllness, WorkingWithIllness.com, Dogs Can Do It, Can You?
@JobHuntOrg, Job-Hunt.org, Lifelong Learning for Career Security
@AndyInNaples, Career Success, What Are You Getting Better At? Make This the Year You Become the Best You Can Be!
(from “What Happens in Vegas”–Chong is trying to schmooze her boss–and he’s not buying it)
We have all had to put up with our fair share of suck ups at work. They constantly tell the boss how great she looks, and never show up to the boss’s office empty handed. The schmoozing never ends. So, what do these acts of utter transparency get them? Paid, my friend, paid. There are many benefits of being the office suck up. In fact, it should be looked at as an art form.
The best at it do it without anyone ever catching on that they are, in fact, suck ups. The more covert the actions, the better and more effective it is. It is not hard to achieve the highest level of this art form. Simply match your boss. Mimic his or her energy levels, methods of working and even demeanor. People like what they are familiar with, and it will also be a way to bond with your superior.
This form of severe flattery will get you more than just being on your boss’s good side. The more trust your boss has in you, the more likely you are to receive the high profile projects. It is these projects that will raise your status in the office, and put you in prime position for the next raise or promotion that is handed out.
You may even gain the ear of your boss. With this direct hotline, you can make suggestions and pass on ideas. With this open line of communication, you will have the ability to shine. Fascinate your boss with your great ideas. Though, with some bosses, your idea should be intermingled with your boss’s. This will show that you both are on the same page and that you agree (even if only slightly) with your boss.
If you can develop a good connection with your superior, you will probably find that you are working on the boss’s pet projects. These projects are reserved for the best, so this will most definitely boost your stature and credibility in the office.
When executed properly, sucking up at work is not the despicable action that it is sometimes made out to be. In fact, many view it as workplace survival. Office politics can play many different roles in the workplace. The tougher the office’s environment is to navigate, the more important it is to get a leg up anyway possible. Sucking up is a legitimate (and legal) way to do it.
Sucking up should not be reserved for those ranking above you alone. View everyone as a possible ally. You should want everyone to be on your team. Think of them as back up players waiting to be called in. Having a great “team” behind you will only benefit you in the future. Your reserve list can (and will) help you at the most opportune time.
The higher you can climb on the workplace ladder, the higher the level you will achieve. Some people don’t care what they have to do to get there, and sucking up seems the most harmless. What do you think? Suck up or not?
If you’ve never heard of LinkedIn, you’re already behind.
According to their homepage, over 55 million professionals belong to the networking site, including every chief executive of a Fortune 500 company! Right now, every second, LinkedIn gets a new member. The masses have spoken with their profiles: LinkedIn is a necessary resource to increase the number of contacts you have in your own industry as well as others, and if you want to be a successful businessperson in the new decade, you’ll have to join.
Fortunately the site is free, so there’s no investment other than time in joining the site. The first step you’ll have to take is creating a profile for yourself. Remember, LinkedIn is not Facebook. You don’t want to be sloppy here. In fact, the more professional-looking your profile, the better.
Just as with a resume, triple check your spelling and punctuation to ensure there are no gaffs or typos that could damage your public image. Because even though the only people who can see your entire profile are within your contacts list, this profile will be public in the sense that it will be used to help you get new jobs, new clients, and new contacts. If you want to ensure you have a job through the next decade using LinkedIn, don’t be lazy on your profile.
You’ll have to give your employment status, your industry or trade, and your location, as well as your educational history. You then have the option to allow LinkedIn to use your email contact list to find contacts for LinkedIn. I recommend letting LinkedIn do this if you want an aggressive strategy for finding new contacts in industries other than your own, or even within your own industry. However, random contacting is kind of like shooting buckshot into the sky, and hoping it hits a bird. Sniper targeting for efficiency is a bit better. But everyone is different, and you may like to play the numbers game with contacts. The more you have, the more likely one will be of benefit to you.
Once you have your profile set up, you can begin inviting other members and non-members to link up with you. What this feature does is give you a pool of contacts through which you can invest some time in discovering whether any could be potential employers or clients. You’ll use these people as references in your other business contacts, as well as reconnaissance for jobs out there that are right for you.
Now that you have set up your profile (with a flattering photo!) and made a large coterie of contacts, start inspecting the job listings everyday, which you can find under the jobs tab at the top of the screen. Also, join a group that is pertinent to your field. For example, I joined the Twitter for Sourcing and Recruiting group because I wanted to keep up with recruiters and how they use Twitter to find new candidates so I can pass the advice on to my clients. These groups are great ways to meet people in the industry you’re interested in breaking into.
Gone are the days of searching for a job the old fashioned way… knocking on doors.
Today’s job seekers are leveraging the power of the internet to network with colleagues through online profiles, make connections with decision makers, and apply for jobs through a company’s website online.
Social media is changing the landscape of how people relate to each other. Before the advent of keeping track of people online, it was harder to maintain an extended network. Now, it’s possible to catalog all the people you’ve known through previous jobs – and to keep in touch with them as well. This has had numerous impacts on the workplace, and how people get jobs.
In the early days of the internet, people would search job boards. Monster.com and Yahoo!Jobs were touted as the hot new thing, and these job boards were huge for the recruitment industry. Here was a (relatively) cheap way to reach thousands of people across the whole world with news about your job opening. While still extensively used, job boards seem to have fallen to the baseline. They require little to no personal interaction to apply for a job. On the recruiter’s side, they often have to deal with spam bots which send out limitless replies to job advertisements. Not as bad as spam bots, but still very annoying, are people who apply on every job on the board, regardless of how qualified they actually are for the job. The entry-level recruiter who spends their day sifting through hundreds of applicants for an administrative assistant’s job is practically tearing his/her hair out.
Now, a lot of recruiters are on Facebook, and there are some people who exclusively advertise job openings they’re working to their Facebook friends. This is helpful, because friends can direct their friends to connect with recruiters – and people that are recommended for a job are much more likely to get it than a random faceless applicant.
Twitter is another way that job news is getting out. Subscribing to a Twitter feed is an easy way to get information on a job – even if it’s only 140 characters. A job title and a few keywords are often enough information for a job seeker to determine if they’re interested in an opening.
LinkedIn, which is a site dedicated to professionals looking to maintain their personal business network, is also another place that has exploded with opportunities. At first, LinkedIn was just a way to keep track of people – now, you can post pictures, presentations, your blog posts, Twitter feeds, daily ‘status’ and so much more. LinkedIn is ripe with job opportunities.
At first, people created groups for job-seekers. Then, recruiters made groups through which they would post openings. Groups such as, “Jobs for Software Developers” attracted only the niche market they were going after – people who were looking for software development jobs, and friends of people who might be interested. LinkedIn capitalized on this phenomenon by creating a job board integrated with their website. Now, people can pay for a job ad, and have their links recommend their friends for a job. I am going to stop right here with LinkedIn. You all know how I could talk about its benefits 24 hours a day.
What has made social media a great outlet for finding a job is the fact that the internet has changed from a broad scope to a niche marketing tool. Take advantage of it.
Last year I posted about not liking the term “resolution”–that I always seemed to fail miserably when I wrote down my New Years Resolutions, so instead I switched to ‘small attainable goals’. I can handle that. Like, ‘walk 20 minutes a day’, or ‘eat at least 2 vegetables a day’ (yes, V8 juice or a Bloody Mary counts), or ‘turn off the computer a half hour earlier than normal’.
So, I was thinking this year instead of making myself do things that I probably wouldn’t do ordinarily unless pressured (by resolutions for example), I would do more positive things for me.
2009 was a very, very busy year for me. I hired a savvy small business consultant who not only redesigned my website, but also taught me the value of developing partnerships, while helping me become more productive and efficient with my business processes. My business increased 500% in a matter of months. My work days went from 6 to 16 hours followed by about 4 hours of sleep. Spring turned to Summer, and Summer to Fall and I never set foot outside to enjoy the seasons. As thrilled as I have been by this whirlwind of success, I knew I needed to scale back and take a break. I would read tweets on Twitter that would leave me wailing, “How does she have time to do an HOUR of yoga? Or read a book? Who has AN HOUR??” Between work, home, children and family, there was time for nothing else. The pity party wasn’t pretty.
We all need time to ourselves. Time to decompress. Time to do whatever we want–watch TV, read a book, meet a friend for coffee or a meal, spend time with our families or our children, or do nothing at all. Time to ourselves. We don’t have to be super people. We get burned out and our focus becomes fuzzy, replaced with a burning desire to just rest. If we become deprived of it, our creativity, drive, and motivation recedes and we live life on autopilot. The more down time we can get in a day, the more balanced our lives will become.
So, I made a plan.
2010 would continue to bring in more business, but I would cut back. For my health. And my sanity.
First, my health. I gave up Aspartame. As addicted to Diet Coke and sweet-n-low as I was, I knew it was not healthy for me. Yes, sugar is bad too, but in my opinion, not as bad as Aspartame, so I will take the sugar instead. So far, so good. I will also walk or do exercise of some form every day to get the blood flowing. Sitting on my butt all day in front of the computer isn’t wonderful for the body either.
I also started drinking green tea. Frankly, I’m not quite sure what it is supposed to do for me, but if the world (and Dr. Oz) is raving about it, then it must be a good thing. So I got a pretty red tea kettle for Christmas, stocked up on green tea, and resolved to drink two cups a day. I am hoping my body is happy about it, but I think it’s too soon to tell.
Have you done something for your heath? A small change? Or something big? Can you feel a difference?
Second, down time. I used to be a reader… at least 4 books a week. In the last 6 months, I have read 2 books. Oh, the withdrawal symptoms I’d have. I’d pass by the book section at the supermarket and touch the covers, promising them I would be back to read them some day. Or I would buy them and then put it on the stack with the other untouched books. The last week of December I read a book. Now I am on #2 and darn happy. I feel more… relaxed, satisfied, balanced. It’s the little things.
Have you given yourself any down time lately? If you haven’t, do it now. Even if you are job searching. You can only search so many hours in a day. Take the rest of the time to rejuvenate your spirit by doing something you love. I promise you, you will go back to the job search the next day with a renewed passion for it.
Third, friends. I miss my friends. I need them around me. Being with friends uplifts me. We laugh til it hurts and we say what we want. After 10 hours of serving others (clients) all day, it is great to be with those who I can be myself with.
When is the last time you talked to, or spent time with a friend? Can’t remember? I know what you mean. Call them now and set up a time to get together.Not only is being with friends good for the soul, but it’s also a great networking tool. How many times have you talked to a friend and the conversation turned to work? Use those opportunities to let everyone know you are job searching.
New Years doesn’t have to be all about exercise and discipline and broken resolutions. It can be a commitment to yourself – to get yourself to a place where you are happy and contented again. Be kind to yourself and acknowledge what your body is telling you. The job or the job search will always be there the next day, so spend a few minutes doing something that makes you happy.
Happy New Year.