Help give your existing career a boost
This economy may not be the best time to look for a new career. Maybe you thought about changing jobs and even took a look online at different job search engines, but decided that you should stay in your current career path. This doesn’t mean you can’t do some things to make yourself more satisfied, challenged, or advanced in your career.
Improving your resume requires thought
Making your resume more relevant to the industry you are in or more dynamic for your internal use at your company could be a planned strategic move. Even though you may have resume examples from people who have recently been hired, adding content to your own resume may include additional training, education, or experience in the workplace. Have a discussion with your current manager to make sure you’re creating a resume for your next move in the organization based on the skills needed to secure that job.
Nothing beats personal connections
Networking to find a job can be done very effectively within your current career if you know where to do it and what to do. Lots of people who have mastered having multiple career choices used networking to achieve that flexibility. Consider your current internal and external network in your area of expertise or industry. Are you limiting your contacts and exposure to help your existing career by staying in one particular interest area? Evaluate what groups you could join that offer opportunities to increase your professional development in communication, self-confidence, or other soft skills you want to improve in order to increase success in your current career.
Take it to the next level
Sure, your boss’ job looks glamorous. He gets to call the shots, give people rewards, fire people who are slackers, who wouldn’t want that control? If you are positioning yourself for a promotion, there are certain skills and plans that will get you there faster without alienating your co-workers. Asking for additional responsibility and jumping in when others don’t want to could be the start that allows you a great example to use in the job interview for that next move ahead.
Work smarter and be happier
Even if you are planning on staying in your current role for awhile, there are strategies you can apply to be happier and more satisfied in your day to day work. Boredom only occurs when workers don’t get to take control and make positive changes. Identifying how you can contribute your skills in the organization outside of your current role may be one way to change up your daily activities and make you a more valuable asset to the organization too.
- Your boss may give you the best career advice
Whether you are happy in your current job or not, take time to listen to what career advice your boss is giving you. It may not be as obvious as “You should find a new job.” or “If you did X, you would increase your chances for a raise or promotion.” Managers are sending employees signals everyday about what they should do differently, better, or not at all. These messages should be guidance on when to take action. Sometimes the action will be what you were planning to do anyway, and sometimes the action is going to be based on a wakeup call from what you really heard.
Career advice that encourages you
It’s great when your boss acknowledges that you have done something well and gives you props in front of your co-workers. Are you listening for when your boss encourages you in less dramatic ways? You may be getting career advice from comments like “I can really see you doing X job in the future.” or “Your skills in this area are valuable to us.” What should you do with information like that?
First, show appreciation to your boss. He is giving you silent signals that your value and place in the organization is solid. When the comments are directed with some tone about the future, try and ask how you can position yourself for that next role. Identify what you have done to be valuable with those skills. Plan steps to increase those skills further, share them with more individuals in the organization, and ultimately leverage your abilities into the next position you want to have.
Career advice that discourages you
Not every piece of career advice is necessarily going to be something you want to hear. Sometimes you won’t be a fit for the position – the job has changed, the boss has changed, the company direction has changed, or maybe all three. When you hear “Training is going to be a key component of the company moving forward.” Or “Some of the team isn’t going to be able to succeed in the new department.”, understand whether there is an underlying message your boss wants you to hear. If you have expressed frustration or lack of desire to get additional training, then the first comment is a gentle nudge for you to start looking for a new job.
It’s not you, it’s the company
Sometimes this is correct. Depending on your industry, the job you do, and the structure of your current employer, you may be better off moving to a different organization. If the industry is changing, and you don’t want to adapt, you may need to consider getting training in a new area or transferring your skills into a new industry.
Understand the skills you can provide another company
Transferable skills is a phrase that is used in companies to identify people who have not gotten skills in that specific industry, but are ready to provide skills to a comparable industry. Whether your boss tells you that you are ready to move to another position within the company, or you should move to another company, you should listen and take the cues. Get the training you need, start positioning yourself for the next move, or identify how you can work yourself into the next job that provides value with your skills.
- Should I stay at my current job if I can’t find any job vacancies?
Staying at your current job while searching for job vacancies is a smart move – unless you can afford to be between jobs for weeks or months. You can still go through the job search and interview process while at your current job; you will just have to be strategic about it. Depending on how long you have been at your current job you may have to update your job search process to include social media, job search engines, and networking.
Where to look for job vacancies
If you are interested in leaving your current job there are a few resources you can use to look for vacancies:
- Job search engines
- Internal vacancies
- Professional organizations
- Social media
Not all job vacancies are posted online. Depending on your industry, networking and “who you know” may be the best way to hear about an opening. If you decide to start searching for a new job while staying at your current job, refrain from searching online during your work day. You don’t want to burn the bridge with your current company.
Figuring out why you want to leave your current job.
You are probably interested in leaving your current job for one reason or another if you are interested in job vacancies. Identifying these reasons will make your job search easier. If you are interested in changing industries there may be some additional research you have to do on reliable job search engines or professional networking organizations. If you don’t like your current job because of certain objectives or responsibilities, read job descriptions carefully and make sure you are not transferring to a similar position.
Vacancies within your current company
Depending on the reason(s) you want to leave your current position, there may be other departments in your company that you can transfer to. Companies may post vacancies internally, before public job search engines. Because you’ve already been with the company, you will have a competitive advantage over someone who applies externally.
Waiting on job vacancies
If there are no job vacancies within your industry you can do a few things to prepare for when you do find an opportunity. Continue to build your skills in your current position. If you are interested in transferring to a new industry, research additional skills or education you may need to apply. By joining a professional organization you can also make connections and network with professionals who may know of job openings. If you are unable to find a company with job vacancies, staying at your current job is a smart move. But you can continue to build your skills and network until you find an opening.
- What are the best companies to find job vacancies? (helpyourcareer.org)
- LinkUp Wins About.com’s 2011 Readers’ Choice Award For Best Job Search Engine (prweb.com)
- Five tips to using a salary calculator effectively
Using a salary calculator can be a good way to evaluate your current worth in your industry and geography. It can help you have a discussion with a current employer about a possible pay increase or move into your next role in the organization. During the job search process, a salary calculator could help you determine what and how to negotiate for in a job offer. Whatever your reason is for using this type of tool, there are some key tips to make sure you don’t get inaccurate or inflated information.
Find a salary calculator from a source that you trust
There are salary calculator tools on almost every job search website available. If you prefer using CareerBuilder®, then CB Salary® may be the best option for you. Try to find a website that will have a significant number of jobs in your field first. Since the salary calculator information will be sourced from the actual postings on that site in most cases, this is an important first step.
Next, play around with the tool to see what you need to input to really get relevant data back. Some of the salary calculators will only narrow the information down to the job level if you pay for the report. Others have very vague job descriptions for you to read in order to tailor the output to jobs you may actually be applying for. Go through the steps and evaluate if the information you will get is going to be too vague or right on target for your objective.
Understand the functionality of the salary calculator
Similar to how you should effectively use a job search engine, the salary calculator will only be able to give you output that is relevant if you put accurate information in. Garbage in, garbage out. You may think that putting a large city in for your geography will give you the best information, but if you live 150 miles away and don’t plan on moving, your numerical output will not be accurate. Entering the most detailed information will allow the tool to give you the best output.
Use the salary calculator for your current job first
Or the job you had last. The reason to do this is to establish how accurate the tool is compared to information you know. Select a job description that will be most closely aligned to your current, or previous, job. Check the output to see if there is a large variance in the output and what you know to be true from your experience. Once you have done this, you can then adjust any information for other jobs you enter to get the most accurate output.
Print out every page on the salary calculator
This is a crucial part of the process of using a salary calculator. It doesn’t matter whether you will be using the output for a job offer negotiation, salary increase discussion, or just to stay informed about current trends in your industry. You need to keep a written record of the geography, job description, and any other information you inputted to truly determine the value of the information the salary calculator gives you.
- Employment is SO much more than a paycheck
Everyone needs a job for a paycheck. It’s obvious to any hiring manager that a logical response to the question ‘Why are you interested in this job?’ may be ‘Because I need to pay my bills’. Hopefully, even though you may be thinking this, you would never say it in an interview. When was the last time you really thought about how your employment is much more than a paycheck?
How does your employment define your daily schedule?
Ok, most of us get up in the morning and manage family or personal situations and then go off to work. What would you do if you didn’t go to work? It may seem attractive to ‘have the whole day to do whatever you want’, but after awhile, wouldn’t that get tiresome? There are only so many episodes of Real Housewives or The Sopranos that you could possibly sit through before you would need to check back into reality. So the reason you want to go to work goes beyond just needing or wanting the financial compensation.
Think about the activities you do at work that help you to be effective during the day in the workplace. If you are in a managerial or supervisory role, your ability to help others, direct activities, or complete tasks that result in positive changes may help define who you are and what you feel valuable doing. Whether you are in a position that affects others or not, you are probably doing something in the workplace that will potentially help people do their job differently or better.
What about your employment affects your life outside of work?
Some people think that they ‘check work at the door’ of their house. Maybe. In most cases, what you do in the job can either positively or negatively influence your personal life. If you have projects, people, ideas, or objectives that you are managing or influencing you can bring those leadership skills into your personal life. The people around you – significant other, children, parents, and friends – could be hearing about your work experiences and learning how to develop skills or get new ones.
Employment benefits aren’t only medical, dental, and compensation
Other things to consider about your employment are the benefits that the company gives you and your family members. Maybe today you don’t need the ‘child adoption assistance program’ or the ‘parental care program’ or the ‘legal assistance program’ – but having it is a benefit for you and the other people in the company. Why does the company give you the opportunity for those programs – work/life balance. Workers who have the opportunity to support the important people in their life will always be more effective in the workplace.
Employment isn’t who you are; it’s who you want to be
Being unemployed doesn’t mean you aren’t providing value to the people around you, or that you didn’t provide enough value to your last employer. You may be in the wrong place at the wrong time. How you react to the situation and make plans for your next employment opportunity will define your overall approach to having a job. Remember that you have valuable skills and experiences that a company could use to make their organization more effective, more productive, or more profitable. Stay focused on how your employment will add value to a company, your network, and you and think about the ways your skills will influence all of those audiences in a positive way in the future.
- Mistakes on job applications could cost you the job
Will the HR department really check all the information on your job application? Maybe not, but do you want to take the chance that they do? Companies ask potential employees to complete job applications so they can get the information that doesn’t belong on your resume like your previous manager’s name and contact number. Completing a job application with too little or inaccurate information will only hurt you in the hiring process.
What if I don’t know?
How should you handle information about a company that has closed down or merged with another company? It’s still important to include the company and your manager’s contact information. If there is a place on the job application to put a comment, you can note that the company isn’t in business anymore. Leaving a gap on the application and not including that experience would be worse. Employers know that in this economy there may be companies that had to close.
What is the best way to handle not having all the exact information? Preparation is the key to avoiding this mistake. Do the research now to have these pieces of information ready:
- Name, address, and phone number of each company you have worked for
- Name, phone number and email for each supervisor you have had
- Starting and ending dates for each position you have had within each company
Even if the supervisor works somewhere else now, try to get their current contact information. This helps your future employer verify your performance at work if the person can share that with them.
Make your references count
Every job application will have a section requesting the name, phone number, and possibly email address for references. This isn’t the place to include a family friend who has watched you grow up but doesn’t have a clue about your abilities at work. References could be co-workers who have more tenure, internal customers in other departments, shift managers you may not have directly reported to, or your direct supervisor.
Don’t forget the external references
Depending on your job function, people who didn’t work at the company, but who worked with you in your role, may be a great source for a reference. Salespeople should consider listing a key customer. Accountants could list a large client they worked with. Graphic designers could include a customer that had a unique job that will show their creativity. Think outside the box and see if using an external reference would help you in the interview process.
Honesty is best
Human resources will use the information on your job application to determine several things including possibly what compensation you will get in the job offer. Even if your last position didn’t pay you as much as you made in a previous job, exaggerating the amount to get higher pay is a bad strategy. When the HR person figures out you lied, the rest of your application will be questioned for truth. Clearly this isn’t a good foot to start out on and in most cases you won’t be getting the job. Be honest with all of the content and prepare to explain the value you will bring to the company. If your skills beat out the competition, you may be able to negotiate for higher compensation once you get the offer.