When my parents went to work after college they could reasonable expect to work for one company for their entire careers, and they did for 42 and 54 years respectively. When I graduated college, it was assumed that my generation would work for 2-4 companies over our careers, predominately in the same field. But as my children entered the workforce, it was predicted that they would have 3-5 different careers over their lifetime.
Organizations are much better today at recognizing strengths and transferrable skills. The best organizations look past your specific experience and instead focus on talent, skills, and fit. Do you have the ability to do what they need? Do you have the skills required to be successful in that organization? Do you fit with their culture and their team? Those things, in that order, are way more important than where you worked or what you were responsible for.
On your resume, spend the most energy on your accomplishments. What did you get done and how did that impact the organization? If you did it for them, you can do it for the next company too. Update your Summary and Accomplishments sections for every job you apply for, and tailor them to that job at that company.
And don’t be afraid to look outside your field and/or industry. Sell your talent and skills, not your history. Work where you find passion. I know two people who had good, successful careers, and dropped them to attend coding bootcamps and both are now successful coders. I started out as an Industrial Engineer, and now I’m a human resources guy. Don’t plan for your career to move in only one direction.
The bottom line is that you should not define your job search looking backwards at what jobs you’ve done. Direct your search towards what you are good at, and what you are passionate about. Be prepared to talk about your strengths and skills, more than your former job titles and responsibilities. You’ll find a job that will be more satisfying and fulfilling. If you are struggling with your job search, this might help. https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/
It’s summertime, time for vacations, right? But, if you don’t have a job, should you be taking a vacation? Well, like the answer to most good questions, it depends.
I strongly encourage you to treat looking for a job like a full-time job. Get up at the same time every day, shower, get dressed, have a cup of coffee, and get to work. Then, spend the next 8 hours looking for a job, every weekday. Work some on the weekends as needed. While every day might not be jammed packed, you should be able to fill the majority of every day with search activities: looking for jobs, researching companies, working on your resume and target list, practicing your interview questions, and filling every other minute networking – setting up, attending, and following up on meeting new people. Finding is a job is hard work, and you won’t find your dream job just watching TV or playing video games.
But you need balance. You need to make sure you are taking care of you. Looking for a job probably has a more flexible schedule than a regular job, so take the opportunity to exercise more, lose some weight if you need to. Do mindfulness exercises to reduce your stress and improve your mental health. If you have extra time, don’t wile it away on the couch, invest in in yourself, your family and your community.
And, like with a regular job, you need a break every once in a while. Depending on your finances, if you can afford a vacation, take it. If you can’t afford to go away, take a staycation. Work on projects around the house, take the kids to the zoo, or just go play in the park. Handle it just like you would if you were working. Plan for it. Use the out-of-office message on your email. Maintain your disciplines just like you were working a full-time job, but get away, relax and recharge. Then, come back refreshed and get at it.
Throughout the job search process, you need to take care of yourself so that when you land that new job you can be at your best, not exhausted and worn out. Work a vacation into your plan. Rest and recharge, then hit it hard when you get back. If you are struggling with your job search, this might help: https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/
To get a good job you’ll probably need to go through a criminal background check, a drug screen, and maybe a check of your credit and/or driver’s license. It is a perfectly legal and extremely common practice to run background checks and/or drug screens on either all applicants, or at least on the finalist, for many, if not most jobs. You need to be ready and to recognize that your past behavior may affect your employability.
Typically, a company requesting a criminal background check is looking for evidence of violence or theft. If they are an organization that deals with children or youth, they are specifically looking for crimes against children. A credit check is typically only used for those people who might be handling finance or accounting. They want to know if you can manage your own money before they let you manage theirs. And many jobs involve operating a motor vehicle (yours or theirs) on company business, so you need to have a valid drivers license and not have a history of multiple accidents/tickets/etc.
Unfortunately, not everyone has a perfect record. We all make mistakes, some just bigger than others. If you believe your background could make it hard to get a specific job, you have two good choices and one bad choice.
The first good choice is to simply not apply for jobs you know you can’t get. If you are a registered sex-offender, don’t even try to work at a school. Bank robbers won’t get jobs at banks. Huge debt or multiple bankruptcies may keep you from being a CFO. Those are pretty cut-and-dried.
The other good answer is to be up front. Let’s say five years ago you got in fight in a bar and were convicted of aggravated assault. Be up-front about it. Before you give them permission to run the criminal background check, tell them what happened. Help them to understand the situation, hopefully that was a one-time thing and what you learned from that. Admitting that there could be things on your record is way better than the recruiter being surprised to see them there.
The bad choice is to lie, deny, and deflect. Blaming someone else for your bad behavior or trying to explain to a recruiter how you were a victim of circumstance, or of poor law enforcement, is probably not going to help you get the job.
So, if you have things from your past that might show up on a criminal background, credit, or driver’s license check, be up front about them rather than letting the hiring manager be surprised. Honesty really is the best policy. If you are struggling, this might help https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/.
First things first, right? Let’s think backwards from when you start your new job. What steps did you have to take?
1) Pass the background check, 2) Interview (several times), 3) Apply for the job, 4) Find the job, 5) Network, 6) Write Elevator speech, 7) Work on Resume, 8) Get fired…, okay – that’s far enough.
Wait a minute. Number 6 – Write Elevator Speech? What’s that?
A key component of networking is to be able to tell your story. You need to be able to do that quickly and consistently. That story should be rich and compelling. It needs it to make people want to learn more about you. Nancy Collamer does a fantastic job of describing how to develop this 30-second gem in this blog post, so I don’t want try to top her. Read her post – twice!
I’ve said before, you should customize your resume for every job you apply for. To an extent you should be prepared to do this with your elevator speech as well. Point out your skills and accomplishments that best fit the job you are applying for or the industry you are interested in.
Being able to tell your story in around 30 seconds is critical to your job search. Learning how to write and deliver a good elevator speech, is a fantastic skill that will help you throughout your career. If you are struggling in your job search, this might help. https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/
Happy Independence Day! This weekend we celebrate the 4th of July, the day that the United States declared independence from England. We’ll have barbeque and fireworks. Bands will play and families will gather. A great American holiday. Hopefully, we’ll also take some time to reflect. If it were not for the women and men of our Armed Forces, we wouldn’t be celebrating Independence Day. If not for their sacrifices, and their willingness, when necessary, to give their lives for our freedoms, we would live in a very different county. If you are member for our Armed Forces, a veteran, or a family member, thank you for your sacrifice. We can never adequately repay that debt.
But, many can also to celebrate independence from more than just England. Maybe you’ve broken the grip of chemical dependency. Maybe you’ve left a toxic relationship, or a really bad job. Maybe you’ve finished your formal education (at least for now) or maybe your last child has moved out of the house, and you are an empty-nester. Independence is phenomenal. The ability to do what we want, when we want it is one of the greatest gifts you can be given. An effective job search can help you find the right job and that job might put you one step closer to independence.
But, with independence, comes responsibility, to assist those who have not yet achieved independence. Look around you and find those that need your help. I believe it is that willingness to help others that has made our country great and will continue to propel us into the future.
Enjoy Independence Day, for whatever you are now independent of. If you are struggling with your job search, this might help. https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/