When the U.S, government passed laws in 2006 enacting the new parent-rights portions of the Work and Families Act, they extended pay and leave for new parents, including men on paternity leave. Working dads have been eligible for up to two weeks of paid leave since 2003, but the new measures extend these benefits. Statutory Maternity Pay, Maternity Allowance and Statutory Adoption Pay have been extended from 39 weeks to 52, with working fathers entitled to take an extra 26 weeks off of work to care for their child, if the mom has returned to work and has not used all of her eligible maternity leave.

These employer-supplied benefits are of course only available if your employer is a regular tax and benefits-paying entity. Those who are independent contractors or employed on a part-time basis may not be eligible for these benefits. Eligibility is also determined by requirements such as the father must be the biological father of the baby or married to the mother, and expected to share in responsibilities related to rearing the child.

Timing is also important for eligibility, and the father is expected to work for the same employer from the time of conception until the time of birth, with leave scheduled starting only when the baby is due, and arrives. Taking time off early might negate your eligibility, so be sure to carefully look over the rules and guidelines. You need to notify your employer of your intentions to take leave by the 15th week before the estimated due date. You can take the leave any time after the birth; it does not have to immediately follow the day the baby is born.

Men on paternity leave is becoming a more common phenomenon than ever before, with the paternity leave being extended to include unpaid time off, after the eligible time period for benefits expires. With the previous disparity in wages that was so clearly sex-defined being narrowed, more women than ever are bringing home as much or more money than their partners. This can potentially free up the formerly “conventional” situation where the mom stays home and raises the kids while dad works outside the home, to a more non-traditional family set-up, where dad stays home and mom goes to work.

It has raised a whole new crop of social issues as well, related to conventional gender roles in our society, and how best to raise a child with the new option of dad staying home. Since more and more people are finding it financially and socially viable to have the father be the primary care-giver and mom be the bread winner, whole social networks are now available to dads who need peers with similar experiences, and moms who have to deal with the stress of being away from their children. Conventional family settings have of course always been that mom stays and dad works, and the new dynamic inherent with choosing a different path brings a new set of challenges to both parents and children.

The Internet has changed a lot about our world in the last ten years─including how we look for jobs. The basics may be the same: the old finding an opening and applying for it, but the internet has completely revolutionized the employment process. With more than 9% unemployed, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, many people are going to be using every single tool at their disposal to find their next employment opportunity.

Networking has been the traditional way to find a job, but over the last ten years this has changed to social networking sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. These sites are now the second-most effective tool in your job-hunting arsenal, according to job placement firms. Searching for jobs at trade fairs or by looking through newspaper classifieds has long been replaced by the internet. It’s not about the old school anymore, today’s job seekers have to be on the web to find a job.

Social networking sites have exploded with popularity, people look to connect with old friends, loved ones and business partners alike, so there is always opportunity to meet someone with a job offer online. Facebook has over 500 million users worldwide, Twitter’s traffic has increased exponentially in the last year and LinkedIn, despite not being as robust as the other social media options, is perhaps the most useful of any social networking site when it comes to actual job hunting. LinkedIn’s traffic has nearly doubled in the past year, thanks to its usefulness as an employer posting site and networking capabilities. You all know how I feel about LinkedIn.

Employment posting sites have been popular over the last decade as well. There are a lot of options out there for these sites and many are household names. Job posters look for these sites because they know prospective employees are going to frequent them in hopes of finding something. These sites experienced great growth early in the decade but social media sites and other factors have contributed to a loss of traffic.

One of the factors in the decline of job posting sites has been the boom of Craigslist. Craigslist is a privately held company that specializes in free internet postings. It’s basically like an online classified section for the internet, users can post jobs or even garage sales. Much of Craigslist’s earnings come from job postings, Craigslist’s success has meant tough times for the newspaper industry. Total revenue from classified listings for newspapers has fallen by as much as 42.5% in 2008 to just $2.2 billion, which makes it the worst drop in the history of the industry.

The internet is definitely where people look for jobs, but the ease at which prospective employees can send out resumes has made it tough for HR managers. They have to sift through a huge pile of resumes to find the right candidate and with jobs scarce at the moment, it can be hard to get through the clutter. People who rely on one method for their job search will find it much more difficult to find employment than others.

Despite what you tell your colleagues, you’ve looked online for work while at work. It doesn’t matter if you say it’s only happened during your lunch break, sure thing, or you admit to taking an entire morning to peruse the job market. Everyone has killed some time looking for that dream job, while your current one takes a back seat. No one is here to judge you. Instead, why not find some ways to make your job hunt easier? After all it’s your life and if you find a way to make it better, why not leap at that chance?

If you’ve ever looked for a job while at work, it’s probably not the smartest move you can make. You don’t have to be an Einsteinian genius to know that looking for work while on the job is a bad move. But, people do it a lot and employers are not oblivious to it. The key is being able to look for a job and keep it on the down low. You don’t want some work place colleague to go back and spill the beans to HR or your boss.

What are some things you can do to continue your job hunting without getting the hook from your boss?

Maintaining productivity

One of the earliest signs of a distracted employee is loss of productivity. Excessive job hunting on the clock can kill productivity and make managers look for replacements before you’ve even found your new job. Managers can monitor computer habits so make sure that your job search stays within an appropriate amount of time. You don’t want to get fired and your work computer is one hundred percent the property of your employer, so be careful when looking for another gig.

Examining repercussions

Even if you do your search at home, make sure you’re using your personal computer. If you use a work related computer, there could be active monitoring software installed, which is completely up to the company. Make sure that nothing you do can be traced back to you. And always remember that US companies have the right to fire an employee for any reason. If they are not just, then why should you be? There are plenty of opportunities out there and all it takes is you applying yourself to get them.

When is it appropriate?

Even if you’re browsing out of casual curiosity, it can send the message that you’re ready to leave your current job. About the only time it is acceptable to look for work while at work is in the event that you have all ready been terminated and you need the time to look for another job. Employees can spend some time job hunting if they’ve already received a notice saying they will be laid off, just don’t abuse the situation. Know the laws in your state and always have a way to fight your employer.

Many women choose to stay at home for several years after having children. While this time frame varies, it always creates a period of time during which you had no ‘real’ job. Once a mother is ready to go back to work, one of the first problems they face in deciding how to write a resume that not only accurately describes their professional experience and career but also properly addresses extended maternity leaves. By using tact and creativity while remaining professional, it is often possible to ‘spin’ an extended leave for the purposes of resume writing and interviewing.

Be honest. Some job seekers mistakenly believe that extended maternity leave is an automatic black mark. Because of this, some lie and claim they were self-employed during their maternity leave. This is a patently bad idea. While it is unlikely that a future employer will investigate the claim, lying during the job seeking process is unethical and can lead to problems down the line. Instead, be honest about your extended work leave. I have found that all hiring managers want is an answer. Where were you all that time? On an extended vacation? Watching Oprah? In prison? They just want to know about the gap.

There are two ways to present extended work leave during the resume writing process. The first is to simply include one or two sentences in the cover letter explaining the reason for your extended leave, the birth of children, and that you are ready to re-enter the work force. Job seekers who opt for this option should keep it short and focus on logical reasons versus cute stories about their children (please don’t do that). Remember to keep it professional.

A second option is including your work leave directly on your resume. Some job seekers have had success by including their responsibilities and skills used during their extended leave. Scheduling, organizing and multi-tasking are just a few of the skills new mothers hone during their absence from work. These skills, and others, can be beneficial in the work environment.

Unfortunately, the human resources community is divided on the subject. While there are laws governing hiring practices, the truth is a resume and cover letter is your first and often only chance to sway a hiring manager to meet with you. While an extended leave of absence for child care reasons may be admirable to some, actually giving the job seeker a leg up, other hiring managers may shy away from resumes that do not adequately cover the subject.

The best advice may be to carefully research the company and hiring manager for each job you are submitting your resume for and to craft a specific resume and cover letter for each job. Carefully reviewing a company website and Internet research may very well give you inside insight into the company and their practices.

Finding a job after an extended maternity leave can be a long process. In fact, it seems like the longer you were out of the workforce, the longer it takes to become employed again. Try focusing your efforts on professionally representing your time off and be as honest as you can. Remember that finding a job is a job in itself so stay positive, craft custom resumes and cover letters whenever possible and use your interview as a chance to really showcase what you can offer the company.

Why Executives Earn Every Penny They’re Paid

It’s pretty easy to sit back in your cubicle and envy the executives in your office. From your point of view, it looks as if they get paid the big bucks without really doing much work! The truth, however, is that executives actually earn every penny they are paid.

What Does the Average Executive Make?

That’s a question many people ponder. How much does the average executive in a company make a year? That’s a bit of a tricky question to actually answer. Most executives get a base compensation salary, but then they also get bonuses, stock options, and other perks that equal their overall pay. At the biggest companies in the country, executive pay means big bucks.

Take Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone for example. The company’s CEO made $702,440,573 in 2008. But that wasn’t all in base compensation. About $700 million of the $702 million was from stock options earned after Schwarzman took the company public the year before.

Let’s look at another example. Michael Jeffries, the chief executive at Abercrombie & Fitch, made more than $60 million in stock options alone in 2008. In addition, he was given a bonus of $6 million – an enticement to remain as the company’s chairman and CEO. Add in his $1.5 million salary, $1.3 in personal airplane usage, and $382,687 for his 401(k) and Mr. Jeffries came out pretty sweet for the year.

How to Become an Executive

It’s clear that executives get the big paychecks. So how do you go from your corner cubicle to the office with a view? Here are some tips to help you rise to the top.

●      Define your career. If you want to become an executive, you have to know what you want to be when you grow up. This takes some serious time and attention to your career. Decide where you want to focus your efforts and then work hard to build a career.

●      Don’t worry about making friends. Of course, you don’t want to make enemies, but you can’t worry about the people who don’t like you. It’s more important to be respected than liked, so make sure you are being true and trustworthy and the friends will follow.

●      Become a great team player. When you play on a team, you don’t always have to be the starting player. You’ll want to be on a team where you are the star in one area. The key to success in a team environment is to surround yourself with good people. Smart people around you will help you get to the top faster.

●      Be yourself. You need to be yourself at all times. There’s no need to develop a work personality different from your home personality. You are who you are and you need to be true to that. It’s easier to get people to follow you if they know you are who you say you are at all times.

Becoming a powerful executive is hard work, but well worth it. After all, a $700 million paycheck would surely make up for years of dedication and hard work.


Today’s post was a guest post from Cathy Pierce. Thanks, Cathy!

You’ve been looking everywhere for, not just a job, but a career, you want to do something with yourself that enables you to pay your bills but also provides a purpose. But, that’s harder than you imagined in an economy that is only slowly making its way back.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to this question, and there are numerous variables at play that can affect the outcome, and every employer is a little bit different. It seems like it’s impossible to know if you are wasting your time by following up on a resume you have sent, but maybe it’s the thing that will give you a leg up over the other candidates.

It really depends…

In general, it really does depend according to some experts. It depends on how you sent in your application, if you know or can find a contact person, and just how much you actually want the job – is it really worth all the effort you put in? Here are some suggestions that may help when deciding to follow up on a sent resume.

How did you send in your resume?

How did you get your resume to the prospective employer in the first place? Did you have a contact person or did you send it in through an online contact form, or did you send it through the company website job page? If you know someone in the company, you can get help with contacting HR or you can find someone from the company Facebook page and get in touch with them that way. You’re not being creepy, you’re being resourceful.

When should you follow up on your resume?

Some recruiters and placement agencies will advise you to submit a resume, and then follow up with a phone call or email. It can show ambition and enthusiasm, as well as set you apart from other candidates who do not bother to follow up. Employers will like that you are eager to get started and are interested in the position.

But, it is certainly appropriate to send a letter or an email a week or so after you submit your resume, especially if you have not heard anything from the company. Who knows, your resume may have fallen through the cracks and a phone call is just the thing that they need to know how interested you are. But, if you have done a follow up phone call or email after sending a resume, and you have not heard anything for a few weeks, it would be best to conserve your energy and not waste time on something that probably will not happen. There are other opportunities out there for you, so you just have to go and find them.

When you follow up make sure that you are polite. Polite messages reinforce your strong interest in the job, as well as showcasing your ability to handle important topics. Every day people get jobs because they stayed the course and fought for what they wanted, maybe today is your day.

You can save yourself a lot of time and frustration during your hunt for a job if you spend some time identifying and overcoming common job search misconceptions. These hurdles can trip you up unexpectedly, but if you learn what they are beforehand, you’ll be prepared for a more satisfying job search experience.

First of all, forget the idea that the Internet is a magic bullet for your job search needs. Most “help wanted” ads are NOT placed on the Web, employers seeking instead to look internally or hire based upon peer recommendations. That said, there are a number of good sites around for the places that do choose this route, such as execunet.com, netshare.com, linkup.com and indeed.com. Register with your resume and cover letter at as many sites as seem appropriate, but avoid another misconception when doing so: The more places you sign on with, the more job offers will pour in. You can always check out my favorite, LinkedIn, and see if any companies are listing openings.

Very importantly, clean up your resume. Consider hiring professionals to help you with this task, and learn more about another common misconception. That is thinking that employers dislike frequent job-changers. While that might have been true in the past when the economy was more stable, employers know that nowadays job-seekers are likely the victims of downsizing or the shipping of their jobs overseas. They understand that your unemployed state and the fact that you might have had to frequently change jobs or location may simply have been so you could stay ahead of the recession. Have a professional work with gaps or short lengths of stay in your resume, however, to present a cohesive picture of progressive goals being met on your career path.

Another common misconception is thinking that your cover letter is just a way to introduce your resume. It is not. What it should be is a vital way to put a face to the sometimes-bald facts contained in your resume; a chance to present yourself as a person with certain skills not necessarily covered in your resume. Perhaps you are an eloquent writer. This is a chance to share information such as exactly which job you are seeking, and why you are uniquely qualified to be offered an interview for your dream job.

Probably the most important misconception to overcome is that the most qualified individual always gets the job. The reality is that the job seeker with the best combination of job skills, inherent qualifications and best personality fit with the interviewer and company is the one who will be offered the job. Employers want someone who will do the job well, certainly, but also the employee who fits in well with the rest of the team and has the right temperament for the specific job requirements.

Try not to get discouraged, and keep in mind the old adage that you should spend as much time looking for work as you would if you were actively working. If you need help then don’t be afraid to seek out help from a resume writer. Just try not to jump at the first offer you get without looking it over carefully, so you don’t shortchange yourself.

Every year experts in their respective fields talk to employers, look at statistics and then take their best guess about what will happen in the job market. Of course 2011 is no different. People want to know if there will be more college graduates hired, will salaries go up or go down and is there a chance employees will see an increase in their performance reviews?

According to available information the job market has begun to look up and there are hopeful signs everywhere. Unemployment rates have held steady at around 10 percent, so it’s good to see some kind of recovery start to take shape.

Recent College Graduate Outlook

The good news is that recent college graduates may have better luck finding jobs. The National Association of Colleges and Employers released their Job Outlook 2011 Fall Preview survey and employers expect to hire at least 13.5 percent more new college graduates from the 2011 graduating class compared to 2010 college graduates. Of the participating employers, nearly half of them expected to increase hiring, where about 40 percent expected to maintain the same level of new college hires.

However, some college degrees still pay more than others. Particularly those college students with engineering degrees still have the highest level of being hired out of college. In fact, all engineering degrees are expected to see growth.

Salary Projections and Increased Salaries

For those that are not recent college grads, but still want to know their job prospects and salary projections for 2011, there is a small flicker of sunlight on the horizon. Projected salary increases for 2010 were thought to be around 2 to 3 percent and the outlook for 2011 is a little bit better. The projections for 2011 are that employers will be able to raise their budgets enough to work with a 3 percent increase in salary according to Plan Sponsor.

That does not mean that each and every employee and job seeker will receive a 3 percent salary increase just because their employer’s budget increased, so don’t go in expecting the increase to hit suddenly. Annual salary increases usually work by creating a pool of cash, which is set aside for each independent department, so that it is the equivalent of 3 percent of that department’s salaries. The pool of money is then divided between employees based on seniority and role within the company.

So as experts begin to predict growth for the 2011 job market there creates good news for soon to graduate college students and those who are still looking for work. Things are looking up but it still might take some time to fully recover. Rome wasn’t built in a day and your financial security and job prospects won’t be either. Keep your ear to the grindstone and start pounding out connections because you never know when that dream job will be right around the corner.

Download Our Report:

5 Surefire Resume Tips To Dazzle The Employer & Get You To The Interview