Before You Change Jobs, Do This!

Job SearchNetworkingWork/Family Balance

before you change jobs, do this!
There’s something that can cut deep into the benefit of changing jobs.
Before you actually look for new employment, make sure you understand the benefits you currently have, like health insurance, and how those will be affected. Health insurance is a complicated thing so you have to be aware of how a job change changes your status. In a recent survey, almost a quarter of the respondents said that their insurance benefits and out-of-pocket expenses worsened their financial situation more than anticipated.
That survey is cited in an article at the NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners) consumer site, Insure U. Job Seekers Beware: Prospective employer’s financial offer is about more than salary is part of some very helpful resources on Job Change that would be good to keep in mind.

NAIC Recommendations For Job Changers

To avoid surprises, consider the following before saying goodbye to a current employer:

  • See if your current group life insurance plan has a conversion privilege. If so, you may have up to 31 days after leaving your job to apply for coverage.
  • Find out if you can convert current group disability coverage into a portable disability plan that stays with you from job to job.
  • If your job change includes a move, check your homeowners’ policy to make sure personal possessions are covered in-transit. If not, consider a trip transit or floater policy.
  • Insurance rates and coverage vary greatly from state to state. Before a move across state lines, contact your state insurance department so you know what to expect.
  • Before accepting a new job, compare your current health plan with plans offered to assure the available mix of deductibles, co-pays and coinsurance will cost-effectively meet your needs.
  • Find out if your new employer has a mandatory waiting period before health insurance coverage takes effect. If so, consider a short-term plan through new health insurance exchanges to cover the gap. More than 10% of NAIC survey respondents said their overall financial situation was worsened by issues related to “the effective date of new health insurance coverage.”
  • If you have children and anticipate a coverage gap, you may also look into government-sponsored programs such as Children’s Health Insurance Plans (CHIP). These plans may provide coverage at low or no cost.
  • Finally, if you’re thinking of starting your own business and plan to use your personal car to make deliveries or visit clients, consider business auto coverage. If you’re involved in an accident while conducting these tasks, most personal auto policies won’t cover the losses.

One More Thing To Think About

Before you decide to search for a different job, get acquainted with all the job search resources on our site. You don’t have to explore each one, but the more you know about what you are getting into, the better prepared you will be for making that switch. Something as elementary as health insurance gets missed by many in the promise of a bigger paycheck, so plan carefully.

Returning To A Previous Career Path

Job SearchResume Writing

Returning To A Previous Career Path
Changing jobs and career paths is not unheard of. In fact, it is quite common. Many people realize after they have spent time in a career that they want something new. In some cases this is returning to a previous career path. The reasons for this choice are many and varied for each person. The reasons don’t matter. Whatever reason you have for returning to a previous career path, I am going to try and help you figure out how to get back to that path, without too much grief.

  1. Look at your old job: If you enjoyed your old job, they enjoyed you as an employee and if you left the company with no bad feelings between you and your boss then you may be one of the lucky ones. You may be able to go back to your old boss and see if they are hiring. If they are, then you are one step ahead.
  2. Look at new jobs in your desired field: If you are not one of the lucky ones from step 1, then you need to start searching for new jobs in your desired field. Use job search sites with filters and look for papers or websites that are tailored to your field so that you can find a job that matches your needs and wants quickly.
  3. Update your resume: Make sure that your resume is up to date with your new work experiences, achievements, and accomplishments. Make sure that they can see you have experience in this field of work so they are more likely to hire you.
  4. Prepare for your interview: When preparing for your interview make sure that you always remember to emphasize your experience in your field. If you can show that you have experience and have accomplished things in that field, then you will be one step above your competition.
  5. Be prepared to start back at the bottom: While you do have experience, you will most likely be starting at the bottom just like any other applicant. This means that you need to prepare yourself for that. If you want a higher position immediately, you will have an easier time getting it at your current job and you should avoid switching career paths.

Hopefully this will help you get back on the path you want to be on and will help you be happier and more successful in your career.

What You Should Show Off When Changing Jobs Or Careers

Job SearchResume Writing

Deciding to change careers, or even change jobs, is a big decision, and once you have made the decision it is important to make sure you do everything you can to ensure your change is a successful one. This includes showing off the right skills and experiences that will make you look impressive to potential employers.

  • Leadership: Employers are looking for people who can lead themselves but can also lead others if they need it. Leadership skills are important in nearly every career path, so make sure you show it off.
  • Teamwork: When you are working for a company, you are part of a team. No one works completely alone. If you are easy to work with in a team you will be an asset to your potential employer.
  • Customer Service: Customers are everything to a company. And if a company wants to do well they must have exceptional customer service. If you can show that you have customer service skills that are better than your candidates, you will be in good shape to get the job.
  • Work Well Without Supervision: Employers do not want to micro manage their employees. It is not efficient. They want to teach their employees what to do and let them go at it. If you are able to work well without someone constantly checking your work, then you will be able to do well and not only get the job, but you will be able to advance in the company.

These are just a few skills you could show off, but they are applicable and desirable for almost any job you could possibly choose. If you can show those skills off, you will be able to show your potential employers what you can do for them.

Last Minute Resume Updates? Bad Idea
It is inevitable that your experience, skills, and achievements will change and increase. That is just a part of working and progressing in your career. With career progression comes the need to update your resume to reflect your career highlights and history. Since most people don’t really think about updating their resume until they are looking for a new job, job seekers today need to make sure that resume updates are made only after careful thought and time have been put forth. Quick updates could mean making critical errors, and we all know that errors on a resume don’t lead to an interview-errors lead to the trash pile. Here is some food for thought to ponder before you start making revisions to your resume:

  • If you are rushing to put something onto your resume last minute, chances are it will not look as good as the rest of your resume.  You will not take the time necessary to edit and make sure that the piece of information you have just put in matches the flow of the rest of your resume. If one part of your resume looks different from the rest of the document, employers may take this as a sign that you do not give attention to detail, or that you are disorganized.
  • If you put something on last minute, more likely than not  you will forget what it is that you have just put on. This means that in an interview, if you are asked about the addition, you may need to scramble to figure out what exactly it is and why you put it on your resume in the first place. That scrambling looks, to your interviewer, like you don’t know what they are talking about (which could make it seem like you never did it in the first place), and it will make you look inadequate and incompetent. Not a good first impression!
  • Quick fixes lead to quick errors. Job seekers are more likely to have spelling, spacing and grammar errors when making quick edits. Read your changes over several times and ensure you don’t have typos. Better yet-try a second set of eyes. Ask a friend or colleague to review your changes just to be sure you didn’t miss anything. If you have errors on your resume, the employer will expect that you will make errors in your daily work, and may not see you as a strong candidate for the position, regardless of your skills and expertise.

All in all, it is just better to add additions right when they happen.  Make your resume a living document. Receive an award? Add it to your resume. Complete a professional development class? Add it to your resume. Keeping your revisions current will give you time to know exactly what is on your resume and why you included certain information. Doing so will save you from bumbling and looking unprofessional in an interview, as well as will make your resume look more impressive overall.

When Is It Time To Get A New Job?

Job Search

work from home resume
Finding a new job is scary. And deciding to find a new job when you have secured employment is even scarier. If you are currently contemplating changing your current job and finding a new one, here are some assessment questions to see if making this change is the right decision for you.

  1. Are you making enough money at your current job to support yourself (and your family)? If you struggle every month to pay the most important bills then changing jobs is something you should greatly consider.
  2. Are you making enough money to live with some luxury? If you live comfortably and even have some basic luxuries then changing jobs may not be important at this time.
  3. Is the room for advancement in the business you work for? If there is no chance that you will be promoted or get higher pay the longer and more dedicated you work then this job may not be the best place for you and you should change jobs.
  4. Can you make a career from your current job? If you can have a lifelong career at the place you work then staying there is a good option.
  5. (This is the most important of all the questions) Are you happy at your workplace? Yes, work is hard and often not fun, but having a job that makes happy and content overall is a much better choice then a job that makes you miserable every single day.

You need to ask these questions to yourself and talk about them with your spouse or significant other. This decision will affect them as well and you need to ensure that they are a part of the decision making. Once you have made the decision to stay in your current job or change jobs be confident in the decision and feel good about the decision you have made. If you feel good about it, then you will never have regrets about it.

4 people jumping
A hiring manager may look at your resume and see that you’ve switched jobs every couple of years. Some would see job hopping or frequent career moves as a sign of a restless employee, one who cannot commit to one job and doesn’t stay in one place long enough to be properly trained. Others may look at you as a go-getter who job hops to acquire new skills in a fast-paced industry.
Job hopping is not for the faint of heart in a weak economy. Sometimes it is difficult to find that next job or change careers. However, if you do job hop for new skills, new projects, more money, more experience or to progress to the next rung on the career ladder, you have to make it clear on your resume why you are changing jobs so often. A functional resume which lists a skills summary, professional experience summary and your employment history may clarify your job hopping for a hiring manager. Noting (briefly) in your cover letter will let them know as well.
If you are job hopping to acquire new skills, list those new skills on your resume in your skills summary, in the job description and also in the training section if appropriate. Highlight new projects and show how they build on previous projects listed on your resume, if appropriate. While more money may be a motivator to switch jobs, stating that fact on a resume is not appropriate. You can illustrate that you received more job responsibility by a higher level title, more responsibility and more complicated projects.
All of these may indicate why you are job hopping. However, you still need to show potential employers that you are a dependable employee by being dependable in all previous jobs. Show up on time, finish all projects by their deadlines and before you move to a new job. Contribute in meetings and one-on-one sessions to add value to your present company. Good career management is obvious when your previous employers are willing to give you a good recommendation.

Editors Note: Kristi Musgrave is a colleague and friend of mine, as well as today’s Guest Blogger. She has oodles of management experience as well as interesting stories to share. Enjoy!
Business People

“I’m laid off?”

I couldn’t believe it. I had worked for a large biopharmaceutical manufacturer for six years. I loved my job. I worked up from a temporary employee in the Microbiology Lab to the Laboratory Supervisor, and ultimately the Quality Operations Manager. During that time the plant had developed into a very successful manufacturing operation. But now we were closing. I understood the financial reasons behind the decision but it was a shock. Now I had a decision to make, do I stay with the company and transfer to one of the other facilities or do I end up laid off?
I was laid off and it was one of the best things that could have happened to me.
Being laid off was the beginning of completely different part of my life. It gave me an opportunity to re-evaluate my life and career goals. As a result, my husband I simplified parts of our lives and learned to live with less, I added a new job title “Mom”, and I changed careers.
Just like most major events in our lives this was a learning experience for me. I learned about different resources I never knew about, programs for free training, extended unemployment benefits, and free career counseling.I even learned that I could happily live without some of the extras I had become use to.
So, what did I specifically do to make this a successful transition? Here are a few things to consider doing after being laid off:

  • Take advantages of all unemployment benefits available – In addition to the standard number of weeks of unemployment pay, some states offer extended paid benefits in certain circumstance. There are also state funded programs for free training. Displaced workers who qualify for the Trade Adjustment Act (TAA) program can receive a variety of benefits and services, including job training, income support, job search and relocation allowances, a tax credit to help pay the costs of health insurance, and a wage supplement to certain reemployed trade-affected workers 50 years of age and older. That is just one example of the many programs available.
  • Evaluate your career goals – This might be something done informally while sitting on the coach at home or more structured with a career counselor. I was able to participate in free career counseling through a local university. Students attempting to complete their master’s degree in counseling are required to complete a number of hours of supervised work prior to finishing their program. I was able to meet with a counselor one on one and discuss my situation. I had access to different career aptitude tests and personality inventories that helped me to better understand what I wanted out of a career and offered career suggestions.
  • Streamline your life – Once we found out about the layoff we looked for ways to eliminate all the unnecessary extras that slowly drained money from our budget. We cancelled our satellite service. Since we live in the “country” this meant no television. This is something we talked about doing but just didn’t have the guts to do it. We also eliminated home phone service since we both already had cell phones. We cut grocery bills, drove the more fuel efficient vehicle instead of the newer less efficient one, and opted for home cooked meals instead of carry out. We looked for ways to make ourselves less dependent on two full time incomes.
  • Look for nontraditional opportunities – In addition to looking for jobs similar to the one I had, I looked for jobs with alternate work arrangements, flexible schedules, and home based opportunities. I even identified several jobs that I could do where the combined income would be similar to what I made before.

Being laid off can be difficult, but it can also be a time for reevaluating what’s important to you and making some changes in your life and career. For me the end result is a job that I enjoy and more time doing the things that I love.  parents running with kids