Tuesday, November 28, 2017

This Job Search Stinks! Is Yours Going Like this too?

See if this sounds like your job search.

You were fired. Well actually it was a reduction in workforce but it feels like being fired. They said it was not your performance, after all you received a good performance rating the last time, but they let you go so it must be performance related.

You updated your resume with the most recent position and started applying online only to hear NOTHING! NOTHING! Seriously? You know that you can do the job but companies are not even giving you the courtesy of a reply.

You modified your resume to match the job description before you apply. You asked people to review your resume and you changed it based upon their feedback. Then you met someone else who suggested changing it another way or changing it back to the way you had it. It doesn’t matter because neither way is yielding results. You don’t even know which way is correct.

You researched and memorized the good interview answers like what to say when asked your strengths and weaknesses.

Looking online there are very few positions available so you start to get concerned that companies are not hiring.

You start to wonder if it is your age or something else about you and start considering lower level jobs. And maybe you even tried for lower level jobs and were not successful.

Maybe you were lucky enough to have an interview but could not get the company to see your value regardless of how you stressed you could do the job.

Does that sound like your job search?

What would you be willing to do to be successful in your search? You probably say “anything” and I’m going to challenge that. Too many job seekers are not successful, not because they are too old or don’t have value, it is because they are doing the job search the wrong way. I bet though that too many job seekers reading this will not change what they are doing. They are the hamster on the wheel – they will work hard at it but are not going anywhere.

Don’t just update your resume or change the formatting without concern for the content. Only 10% of resumes make it passed the keyword software that resumes go through to filter candidates. Formatting is important but resume reviewers only comment on format and do not address content. And when all candidates use the same job description to tailor their resume, all the resumes sound the same. As a recruiter said once “they ring hollow”.
Instead: create your resume based upon a sample set of job descriptions for the single type of job you are pursuing to be sure you are emphasizing the right skills, highlighting the relevant experience, and using the right keywords.

Don’t just rely on applying online. Only 15% of all of the job available today are posted online. When you limit your search to jobs posted online, you are leaving 85% of them out of consideration.
Instead: develop a job search strategy that utilizes all of the approaches but proportional to their success rate. Know the tips and logic behind them, to be better at each approach. Example: did you know you have to repost your resume to job boards every 3 weeks?

Don’t give the researched or pat answers to interview questions. When you do, you are not standing out as a candidate, in fact you sound like everyone else.
Instead: know what your real individual strengths are by taking an assessment. Know the stories of your past successes so the interviewer convinces themselves that you can do the job.

As they say: you will keep getting what you have been getting if you keep doing what you have been done – which is probably not what you want. If you really want to get off the hamster wheel and get a job you WANT, then partner with a job search coach who knows the right way to conduct a job search. Meet with them for an hour first to find out about their services and to get to know their approach. Be sure they address all areas of the job search, not just one area like the resume.

It is not you! You have just been doing the job search the wrong way. The job search is not intuitive so get advice from someone who can help.

For more information about RightChanges services and super specials through Dec 1, go to www.RightChanges.biz

Judi Adams
The Affordable and Successful Job Search Coach

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Best Gift You Can Give: The Gift of a Future

Today between 50 and 80 % of people currently employed are disengaged or worse – they hate their jobs. Many people select their career or field of study by chance – falling into it. Others select a career because it is expected of them by others. I chose my initial college major because I liked the subject in high school; I didn’t really know what I would do with it once I graduated.  Imagine if you had the chance to do it all over again with a factual based understanding of what is a good fit for you.

Do you know a soon to be recent graduate (high school or college) or someone in a job transition? A great gift is the gift of knowing the right field or career for them using a comprehensive career assessment.

Where some assessments are one dimensional, RightChanges uses an affordable, internationally renowned Career Assessment that covers 4 key areas: personality, interests, skills & abilities, and values. We supplement the personality component with a second personality assessment that is based on different definitions so we get an accurate picture of the individual. The assessment does not select the final field of study or career. Instead the assessment narrows the options to a select pool that are a fit for the person from which they make the final, informed choice. Your RightChanges coach is an experienced and certified facilitator of this assessment.

Consider giving this amazing gift of understanding and knowledge to the student or job seeker in your life.

For more information on this affordable wondrous gift, go to www.RightChanges.biz

Does Networking Feel Like Begging? Then You Are Doing It Wrong!

As a job seeker, you have probably heard three important statistics impacting job search success:

1) Between 45-75% of people get their job through networking

2) You have a 50 times greater chance of getting a job with a connection

3) Only 15% of the available jobs are posted online.

Even though networking greatly increases the chance of getting hired, too many job seekers refuse to network, many because they feel like they are begging when they go to a networking meeting. The good news is that is not what networking is about.

Here are the steps to follow to increase your chances of getting a job through networking:

      1)  Be prepared
Be sure you have all of your marketing materials ready. The job search requires much more than just a resume. For networking, you also need to know your elevator pitch, have an ample supply of job search business cards, and a complete LinkedIn profile.

     2)  Know WHERE to network
There are job networking groups in many towns but most of the attendees are not employed. That is not a target rich environment; it is like going to a married group looking for a date.

I am a professional affiliate of one of the nation’s best job networking groups, CrossroadsCareer.org and they serve a vital purpose. You also need to network with employed people especially people in your industry.

There are a number of ways to find industry groups in your area. The simplest approach to locating target rich groups is to search the internet using the name of your industry or job title, the word “association” and your state (example: technology association Georgia). You can also search for meetup groups for your industry or job title in your city (example: meetups data analysis Atlanta).

    3) Know HOW to network
I am an introvert. I do not like networking because even the thought of it exhausts me. However, I know that networking is an essential life skill. Like me, you just need to learn how to do it, practice it, and do it!

There are a number of excellent books that help develop strong networking skills listed on the RightChanges web site (www.RightChanges.biz) under Highly Recommended Resources.
The great news is that it is just meeting and getting to know other people and you have done 
that all of your life.

RightChanges affordable and successful job search coaches are here to partner with you to learn and execute a results-oriented job search strategy to help you get the job you WANT! Through December 1 we have specials that makes it even more affordable. For more information go to www.RightChanges.biz.

Judi Adams

The Affordable and Successful Job Search Coach

How to Follow-up with People during the Job Search

How to Follow-up with People during the Job Search

As a job coach, I am often asked how and when to follow-up with people following an interview or with someone who has said they would get back in touch. There are some basic guidelines I always give and want to share with you to increase your job search success.

        1. They said they would get back to me. Should I follow-up?
It is the job seeker’s responsibility to follow-up.  Even if the other person said they would get back to you, YOU are responsible for following up.

        2. How soon after should I follow-up?
There is no simple guideline that can address that question; the answer is “it depends.” It is based upon the facts and situation. I always have to ask questions such as “what exactly did the other person say?” and “how did you leave it?”

Do not, however, follow-up before the timeline they set. There is a reason they gave the timeline that they did.

          3. When should I follow-up?
The guideline I share with my job search and business clients is this:
NEVER follow-up on a Monday or Friday and NEVER the day before or after a holiday.
You probably surmised the principle behind this guideline. On Mondays or the day after a holiday, people are busy getting caught up with correspondences that have come in since the last work day and planning out their week. On Fridays or the day before a holiday, people are looking to wrap up their work so they can get out of the office.

          4.  Should I email or call them?
I always suggest paying attention to and using the form of communication that the other person prefers. Personally I prefer e-mail communications because I’m either working with clients and can’t take incoming calls, or I’m speaking at night and I can’t get back to returning a call until it is very late at night. Using email allows me to reply and move the communications along regardless of how late it is. Each person is different so make note of their preference ex. if you email them and they call you back, they prefer a call.

         5.   What do I say to someone who was supposed to get back in touch with me?
It is very important to be sure you do not make the mistake of pointing out to them their failure to contact you as promised. I call this blaming and shaming. Do not say “I didn’t hear from you” or “you didn’t get back to me about”. You do not know what has transpired in the life of the other person since the last time you talked, they could have had something terrible happen and blaming or shaming only makes you look bad.
Instead of blaming and shaming, always start communications with what I refer to as the “nice, nice” such as asking about their holidays. Then ask the question you want the answer to or, as in the case of an interview you are waiting to hear back from, re-express your interest in the job.

The way you handle follow-up reflects on your level of professionalism and is considered in the hiring process. Apply these simple but sound guidelines to be sure you are not eliminating yourself from consideration.

RightChanges is very thankful to our clients, their job search successes, and the abundant referrals over the past 8 years. In appreciation and to encourage other job seekers to get the help that will make a difference in their success, we have launched two specials from now until Dec 1. Check out our website www.RightChanges.biz for more information and to save. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Are You Working Smart in Your Job Search?

Are You Working Smart in Your Job Search?

If you want to achieve more success in your job search, it is time to verify you are doing what is needed to find and land that opportunity. It is a matter of working smarter not necessarily harder.

As I mentioned in my last article (http://bit.ly/2ydi3vz), the fourth quarter is a great time to look for a job.  You will want to take advantage of this time by maximizing your approach.

Here are a few questions to ask about your job search. If you answer NO to any of these, then there are changes you can make to be more successful.
  1.  Do you know and use in the interview your REAL strengths using Strengths Finder 2.0 instead of giving the answer everyone else gives (I’m a people person, organized, detail oriented, blah, blah, blah)?
  2. Have you identified and documented OVER 70 of your accomplishments and interview stories in STAR format? Are the bullets on your resume used for accomplishments and not just part of the job description?
  3.  Was your resume built using multiple job descriptions to ensure the keywords, skills, and experiences are emphasized for the job you are pursuing.
  4. Do you have a well-honed, 30-second elevator pitch that does not include the phrase “I used to…”?
  5. Do you have a job search business card so you have a professional way of sharing your contact information?
  6. Is your LinkedIn profile complete? Does it include a headshot? Have you tailored your LinkedIn URL? Do you use LinkedIn as an active tool in your search? Are you active in LinkedIn groups?
  7.  Have you identified 5 – 10 target companies that are more than just the best known companies in town.
  8. Do you have a Networking Guide (or Marketing Plan) that you distribute to people who offer to help with your job search but can’t hire you themselves?
  9. Are you using the T cover letter format to highlight what a great fit you are for the specific job posting? Do you position the cover letter in the same document as the resume so everyone that sees the resume benefits from the T cover letter?
  10. Does your job search include multiple approaches with no more than 20% of your time applying on-line and working with recruiters?
  11. Have you taken training (including on-line or self-study) since you have been in transition?
  12. Are you networking with employed people? Do you know where people in your target industry and target companies go to network?
  13. Do you repost your resume on-line every 3 weeks? Do you use industry or career specific job boards?
  14. Do you know how to have the company share the salary range and how to postpone further salary discussions until they have offered you the job?

If you answered NO to one or more of these, then get with a professional job search coach to power up your search.  It can make all of the difference in getting the results you want.

Judi Adams

www.RightChanges.biz The Affordable and Successful Job Search Coach

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Myth or Fact: It is Easier to Find a Job When You Have a Job

For years it has been said that it is easier to find a job when you have a job. This bit of wisdom was based on two principles 1) while working and looking for a job you do not have the financial pressure that being unemployed job seekers have and 2) employed people are more attractive to hiring authorities than someone who is out of a job.

Why then are employed people “jumping ship” from their current companies to find something better before they have something lined up? 80% of people currently employed are unhappy or miserable. Let us look at the validity of this expression and what to do if you are one of the 80% wanting something better.

Here are the facts and myths about that old saying.

Fact: Financial
We all need money to survive. Not only do we need our basic needs met but the job search will cost money including the costs of networking events. One of the most important aspects of a successful job search is a positive attitude so not having financial stress does help.

Myth: I Have Job Security
In the past job security could be found in a job title, company, or industry. Those days are gone. Today job security no longer comes from a high demand title, company, or hot industry. For example as Baby Boomers age, some believe that jobs in the healthcare industry will be secure. However in the major city where I live they closed a major area hospital and two sets of hospitals merged resulting in layoffs.

Today job security comes from keeping your skills up, your experience current, and your network of contacts active. If your job has allowed you to become complacent in these areas then your marketability is declining.

Myth: Time
The job search is (or should be) a full time job. If you are already working a full time job (which can take up more than 40 hours a week) and have other commitments, like family, it is harder to find time to conduct a job search.

Myth: Longevity at a Job or Company is Desirable
Back in the day if you were with a company for a long period of time you were on top of the world and anyone with a company for less than five years was a “job hopper” which had a negative stigma.

Today the world has flipped upside down. Anyone who has been with a company for a real long time is looked at having limited experience (only knowing one way to do things) and anyone who has changed jobs frequently is looked at having broad experience. Think about how companies groom executives; they do so by moving them around the organization. You should consider grooming your own executive, you, by moving around to gain broader experience.

In addition, when working at a company for a long period of time, your salary goes through a compression and does not stay up with the market. Moving around gives you the opportunity to “reset” your salary to the market value.

Myth: Energy for the Job Search
The biggest complaint my employed clients have about conducting a job search while they are employed is the energy it takes. They are usually exhausted at the end of a full day of work. It is hard to summon up the energy to take actions that are outside of their comfort zone – like networking. 

Myth: Emotional
In a job search you are selling a product – YOU – your skills, abilities, aptitude, and experience. If you are in a job you do not like or is a negative environment, it can take a hit to your self-esteem and confidence and make it harder to see and communicate your value.

Myth: Employed People are More Desirable
Back in the day, if you did not have a job it is because you did not apply yourself. Today, for the first time in history, there are 4 generations of people in the job market at the same time.

The average job now lasts 2.5 years. Companies are downsizing, going bankrupt, or merging. While going through these changes, companies lay off even the good performers. Being unemployed does not have the stigma it used to. Most of us will be in a job transition a number of times in our lives.

What to do if you are employed and looking?

If you are part of the majority of employed people in a job you do not like, there are actions you should take now to get ready for something better.

Read the book “Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson and determine which character are you with regard to the job search. You need to be committed to the search – it is a marathon not a sprint.

Understand and accept that there is preparation work you need to do ahead of updating your resume and initiating the search so you will want to get started.

Get a full understanding of how the job market is different. You will not be successful in it unless you know what “it” is.

Be intentional about the job search. Develop a plan and work it one step at a time. The journey is made up of a series of steps.

Get support from home and back off of extra responsibilities to free up time for the job search just until you land your new job.

If your job is uncertain, save up as much money as possible to cushion the time you are in a job search. You can cut some discretionary spending but you cannot cut job search related costs (like expenses for networking) and expect to be successful.

Dust off your skills. If your company offers training, take it. There are millions of free online training courses that are just as good as many paid classes and you can get access to most software to use while training through a free 30 day trial.

Get copies of your past employee performance reviews from Human Resources if you do not have copies already. They are a wealth of information for the job search.

Send to your home e-mail address copies of correspondences where you have received commendations and praise.

Start identifying your unique qualities, accomplishments (STARs), and strengths (using the Strengths Finder 2.0 assessment). This is needed for the resume, for the interview, and it reminds you how accomplished you are.

Know what job title you want to pursue. This may be a great time to switch careers. Many people are successful making a career change even later in life leveraging their experience and newly tapped passion. A career assessment can help you identify a good career fit.

Get up-to-date on your industry. Read trade news and the area Business Journal (ex. for Atlanta that is the Atlanta Business Chronicle) to know what is happening in all industries in your area.

If you have not already done so, start developing a LinkedIn profile and connect with former colleagues and people you know in your industry.

Work with a professional to update your resume. It is not just the format that matters. Only 10% of resumes make it passed keyword software so be sure to work with someone who refers to job descriptions for the job you are pursuing while working on the resume. The resume is only one of 6 items of marketing material you need for a successful job search. Develop and use all six.

Set the flag in LinkedIn that lets recruiters know you are open to opportunities.

If you are using an old e-mail domain such as AOL, hotmail, EarthLink, or mindspring, then get a new professional e-mail address. The e-mail can be from one of the free services but for flexibility reasons I suggest a domain that is not tied to your current service provider. You can keep the old address for personal use but using one of the oldest domain names for the job search gives the impression you are not staying current.

Make sure people know you are looking. You have a 50 times greater chance of landing a job with a connection.

Get more involved in networking groups. Many of the industry associations meet before or after work hours or during lunch.

Know how to deflect salary questions until they offer you the job.

You would not play golf without hitting a bucket of balls first so practice interviewing and get feedback on how to improve.

If you do not know where to begin or would like help staying accountable, seek out the assistance of a job search coach. RightChanges provides affordable assistance for all steps of the job search. Go to www.RightChanges.biz for more information or contact us at Info@RightChanges.biz.

Monday, January 2, 2017

In a Job You Don’t Like? Actions to Take to Get a Better Job

In a Job You Don’t Like?  Actions to Take to Get a Better Job

Forget the unemployment number for a minute; up to 72% of employed people are in a job they do not like. Are you one? Whether you are misemployed (no joy), underemployed (no pay, benefits, or challenge for your skills and experience) or overemployed (all work and no life), you deserve better.

There are mistakes employed people make that leads them to believe this is all they can get. Here are the actions to take to overcome those obstacles.

Action #1 - Cheese

Even if you have read it before, read the book Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson with an eye toward which character are you with regard to looking for a new job.

Realize that the good cheese is gone where you are and you need to strap on the shoes and get moving. You may need to process the loss of a formerly great company or the people you have developed close relationships with. As they say on airlines though “put on your own oxygen mask before helping others”. You need to do what is right for you and if that is finding a better job, then you need to do it. 

You need to get the fresh cheese. Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great, said “Don’t spend 5 years getting 2 years’ worth of experience”. Do not let time go by without increasing your worth to future employers.  

If you have been in a company for a while your salary has undergone “compression”. You may be only receiving the typical 3% increases while the market far outpaces that. Changing jobs can mean more money.

Action #2 – Know Your Product

There are 4 generations of job seekers in the job market today. You have to know how to set yourself apart from the others. You need to know what you have done for your previous employers that will make you desirable to the next one.

You have to know your strengths and you cannot use what everyone else is using “I’m a people person, hard worker, quick study, detailed oriented, organized, blah blah blah.” You have to know and share your actual strengths.

Make use of your time at the company to get copies of your past performance reviews; they are a wealth of information. Get a list of any and all courses you have taken through the company. Also note the name of the software that you use.  Although you believe you will never forget this information, the memory goes quicker than you think.

Action #3 – Research How the Job Market Has Changed

Unless you have been in a job search in the past few years, you may not have a clue how different it is. From the marketing materials, to the ways to find openings, the job market has changed and to be successful, you need to understand and accept those changes.

If your resume starts with an Objective (1980’s you centered) or adjectives such as “Dynamic, multi-talented professional…” (1990’s fluff) or has “References Available Upon Request” at the bottom, then I welcome you to join us in 2017. If you or a “professional” developed your resume without looking at a cross sampling of job descriptions for the single type of job you are pursuing, then your resume needs a lot of work before you get out there.

Another difference is the job search approach. Only a minority of available jobs today are posted on-line and you have a 50 times greater chance of getting a job with a connection. Therefore, you can see why only 30% of people get a job by applying on-line. You need to know all of the approaches and use them proportional to their success rate. 

Action #4 – Warm Up Your Network

Now is a perfect time to connect on LinkedIn with current and former co-workers. You do not want to wait until you need them to talk with them for the first time in years.  Renew those acquaintances, find out what is new with them, and see what you can do for them.

Action #5 – Update Your Skills

Job security today no longer comes from a job title or even doing a good job. Companies let good performers go if it makes sense to them financially. Security does not come from a company or industry. Those days are gone.

Job security today is in your control; it comes from keeping your skills up, your experience current, and your network active. Check to see what skills companies are looking for in the job you are pursuing and start to get training in those areas. You do not have to spend a lot of money for training either; there are numerous free or inexpensive options.

Action #6 – Accept that it is Actually Harder to Find a Job While Employed

Although there may not be the financial pressure that comes with being unemployed, finding a job while working is hard. Not only do you have a full time job which usually means greater than 40 hours a week, but you have a life as well. The job search can be a fulltime job into itself.

Employed seekers have to be very intentional about chipping away at the job search. It is like eating an elephant – one bit at a time.
Take these actions now to get a better job.

RightChanges has seen a shift in the client base from a majority of unemployed to a greater percentage of employed clients wanting a better life.

You do not have to navigate the job search alone. RightChanges is here to partner with you. And to accommodate the growing employed sector, RightChanges is now offering Saturday hours upon request. For more information, go to www.RightChanges.biz