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Category Archives: career planning

2014 In Demand Hard-to-Fill Positions

needle hill

Four in 10 American employers are struggling to fill open positions.  Our goal is to help the job seeker better understand the current job-market landscape…so they can better align their job search plan, let’s review these top, yet hard-to-fill, areas for employers!

Jobs in demand

For the fifth consecutive year, the jobs that are hardest to fill fall into the category of skilled trades, which covers manufacturing, construction and other positions that require professional training or apprenticeship. This category includes plumbers, electricians, carpenters and brickalyers. Laborers, on the other hand, are defined by Manpower as workers who possess few specialized skills.

 

EzHire Search & Placement

 

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Hiring Managers Top 5 Least Favorite Things

Image When asked about deal breakers that would make them automatically dismiss a candidate from consideration, hiring managers included these top 5:

Candidate throwing their resume at every job post-to see if it sticks. If you weren’t already aware, most companies these days use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to receive, organize, review, and search the resume that everyone sends in for consideration. This means that if their ATS software cannot detect how you match the basic qualifications of the position, you are simply lost in the mix.  Your resume and information will NOT appear in search results because it does NOT match any of the key-words.  Once a resume makes it into a company’s ATS, a Hiring Manager can request all the resumes of people with a certain skill/background. They do this by setting up a search for only those resumes that contain the key-words they want.   It is completely a game of words, numbers and statistics and it’s totally acceptable to try to play it like a game.  Your challenge is to learn the key words a Hiring Manager might use to find someone with your background, and then to make sure your resume includes them.   The resumes of the unqualified clog the system.  Only apply for positions where you meet 90% or more of the basic qualifications of the position.  Being qualified for the positions you are applying for already gives you a big advantage over the competition.  On average…85% of the applicants aren’t a fit for the job they apply for. Taking the time to read the job description and tailoring your resume to make sure it’s perfect will give you even more of boost over the other candidates.

Resumes that are more than one page long.  Your resume has less than 15 seconds to capture a Hiring Manager’s attention according to a national survey published in the book, “Winning Resumes” by Robin Ryan.   If you can’t whittle it down to a page or two at max, I will not read it.   Remember, when looking at your resume, think like the person reading it.  Trim off anything that would be useless to them.   Write it like a reader, and try not to use the same resume for every job you apply for—consider your resume a template you should tweak for each job you really want.  It’s tempting to throw the same resume at each job posting, but you’ll get better results for your time spent if you take the time to customize it each time.

Vague, general resumes.  Accomplishments get attention. State the action you performed and then note the achieved results. Include details about what you increased or decreased. Use numbers to reflect, how much, how many, and percentage of gain or reduction. Stress money earned or time savings. For example: “Managed project implementing a new order tracking system that resulted in a 17% decrease in customer complaints, saving the business $80,000 annually in customer call center operations.”

Lack of Interpersonal Communication Skills.  The purpose of an interview is to assess an individual’s expertise, experience, and cultural fit within the organization.    Being able to have a dialogue about your fit within the organization is critical. So, don’t just tell the Hiring Manager what you think they want to hear or what you perceive is the “correct” answer.   It’s rare to find somebody who has that combination of really good technical skills and really good verbal communication skills.  You will be head and shoulders above other applicants if you can combine those two.  Provide honest insight into your strengths, weaknesses, etc. so the Hiring Manager can make the best decision possible for the organization – and you can decide whether the opportunity is right for you, as well.  The experts say that the only way to hone verbal communication skills is to use them, especially if it involves taking you out of your comfort zone.  Take a public speaking class or consider becoming a member of your local Toastmasters Club at which members hone their speaking and leadership skills in a no-pressure atmosphere.  The capability of speaking and communicating well is invaluable to your career path.

Arrogance. When a candidate is overly confident, Hiring Managers find them to have a sense of entitlement, which is the last thing a Hiring Manager wants to deal with.   Remember to be gracious to anyone you meet during the job search process. Being humble will get you farther than being conceited.

 

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2012 Mid-Year Hiring Outlook

The job market is a moving target…with businesses acting like a significant other who isn’t ready to commit. Instead of marrying themselves to permanent employees, companies are speed dating and hiring more project-based workers.  Businesses use this strategy when they are unsure of what the market will do.  That trend has employment agencies seeing an overall upswing in demand over what we saw in the previous 24 months, primarily in the Secondary (Manufacturing), Tertiary (Services), and Quaternary (Knowledge-Based) Economic Sectors.

What’s HOT?

It sounds crazy with the unemployment rates we have, but here in the Midwest we don’t have enough skill talent to go around.  Businesses are hiring more executive-level and middle-management for project-base jobs; we’re seeing those project-base jobs in manufacturing engineering (new product design and development), computer-aided technologies (CAx), numerical analysis, accounting, and technology for modern healthcare.

We are also seeing a demand for multi-lingual project-base jobs.   Multinational businesses headquartered in Latin America,Germany,China, and Sweden have jobs in their US offices for bilingual workers who speak English plus German, Chinese, Swedish or Spanish.

The highest growth rate goes to Executive Assistant/Office Managers (who have experience supporting CEOs and other company leaders.)  Especially candidates with Associate’s Degrees in Business Management, or 3+ years of experience without degree.   The “Assistant” role within the office environment has evolved drastically with the ever-increasing reliance on technology. Assistants are now asked to perform a variety of tasks that were once reserved for managerial and professional staff. While the basic duties still stand—taking messages, arranging conference calls, and scheduling meetings—executive assistants are also often put in charge of supervising other staff, reviewing incoming information/data, and even conducting research and preparing statistical reports. In short, it’s the Executive Assistant’s job to make sure the top branches of the company run smoothly.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 12.6 percent employment growth for executive assistants between 2012 and 2020. An additional 156,000 jobs will need to be filled within that time period.

We also have been engaged to fill a number of in-house legal positions.  Some are in smaller privately-owned companies seeking to start or expand their in-house capability, and others are established institutions continuing their significant in-house legal functions.  The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) 2011 Census Report showed that, over the last five years, there was a growing tendency of law departments to handle their legal issues internally.  This trend is consistent with the overall efforts of corporations to cut costs and rely less on outside counsel.

In this current employer market, businesses can afford to be extremely selective in their hiring practices, particularly those in the upper echelons of prestige and profitability.  Candidates must have the right balance of both hard and soft skills to be considered for any job opening.  You must PROVE to that Hiring Manager that you are; technologically savvy, understand the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), possess the characteristics of a lifelong learner…that you are believable, dependable, and confident, show an understanding of management accounting, and a great communicator with integrity, and consistency.

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses in an employers-market can help you present yourself in a  positive light, which may give you the edge.  Present yourself differently to each Hiring Manager…highly how your skills-set matches what they are looking for.

 

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Career Skills for the New Economy

 

A big part of the solution to the jobless recovery is to better align our educational training programs with the technical needs of today’s employers to be globally competitive.  Employers need employees with more skills, not more education, and there is a subtle but important difference between skills and education. Creativity, once a trait avoided by employers, is now prized among employers who are trying to create the empowered, high-performance workforce needed for competitiveness in today’s marketplace.

The Polarization of Job Opportunities in the U.S. Labor Market:  http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2010/04/job_polarization_report.html

Hottest Sectors & In Demand Job Skills in the Top 10 Job Markets [INFOGRAPHIC]http://infographiclist.com/2011/10/03/hottest-sectors-in-demand-job-skills-in-the-top-10-job-markets-infographic/

So, here’s my advice: Be proactive about your career. What do you plan to do in 2012 to ensure you are growing as a professional?

 

 

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Hiring Demand for Project Management Skills in the US at all-time high.


 

 

 

Whether or not you hold the official title of Project Manager (PM), chances are you’ll be called upon to lead some sort of project at some time in any job.  A definition of project management would be the planning, organizing and then management of the resources required to complete a specific task. Build a solid foundation of project management knowledge, techniques, and tools as you proactively manage your career.

Hiring Demand for Project Management Skills in the US – 4 Year Hiring Trend:  http://www.wantedanalytics.com/insight/channel/labor-market-dynamics/hiring-demand-indicators/


 

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We have entered into an age of career entrepreneurialism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tough economy means many recent college graduates are forced to wait tables, until they land a job in their chosen field of study.  But others are taking a different route, cobbling together freelance gigs/designing their dream job.

http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2012/05/14/how-to-make-gigging-full-time-job/?intcmp=related

 


 

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How long should I stay at my first job out of college?

I’ve been thinking about this question a lot lately. I’ve heard it all from, “Life’s too short to stay at a job if you’re not happy”…“Stay at least three to five years”…”It looks bad if you change positions too often”… to  ”If I was hiring someone for a position, and saw a resume filled with 6 month jobs, I’d be worried they’d do the same to me.”

The reality is… according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2010 Employee Tenure Summary; people under the age of 30 change jobs almost once every year and a half (compared to the national average of once every four years.)

Another way to examine job changing is addressing the fallowing 3 basic factors:

Factor #1:  Is the situation unsafe or unlawful?  Make a quick escape from anything that just does not feel correct to you.  If lives are at serious risk, if you are being pushed into illegal, dangerous, unsafe or unethical practice, or you are so miserable you cannot function…there’s trouble ahead you MUST move on.

Factor #2:  Are you happy?  Few jobs always offer you 100% satisfaction in all areas and Monday-morning blues are inevitable, but something’s definitely wrong if you find yourself dragging your feet to work every day and you are constantly wishing for the weekend.   You need to thoroughly understand what is creating your job dissatisfaction. If you change jobs for the wrong reasons, you just take the discontent with you.  So, before jumping at a hot new job offer, be sure you’re running toward something, not from something.  Make good job change decisions using the formula: T + P + E x V:

  • Talent. Inventory your strengths and weaknesses, then focus on your strengths and manage your weaknesses.
  • Purpose. Talents develop best in the context of interest. Ask yourself what needs doing at work and in the world, and then put your talents to work on some area of need you believe in.
  • Environment. For the best alignment, identify the work environment that best suits your style, temperament and values.
  • Vision. (How you see the rest of your life). Talent, purpose and environment are about work style and choice. Vision describes how work fits into the rest of your life.

Factor #3:  It takes 2 hands to clap…if one of the following things is happening to you, something is WRONG, and you should start reviewing yourself, your leadership, and your company:

1. No increase in compensation or additional benefits in 18 months – something could be wrong with you (you are not worth it…are your hard & soft skills the best they can be?), your boss (sleeping on your achievements) or with your company (decreasing sales, dying industry, bad leadership, poor business finance management, bad business strategy – these environments are not fertile for career success)…if no promotion and substantial increase is forth coming in the next 90 days…exit ASAP.  Make sure to change jobs with at least a 12% increase in salary.

2. No increase in knowledge or skills (from trainings, new assignment, etc.) – something is wrong with your boss, your company and its human resources strategy and practices.  Companies that fail to invest in employees jeopardize their own success and even survival.  The skills and performance of employees and managers must be upgraded continuously.  The average strategic U.S. small business spends – $1,041 per learner annually.  The average hours of training per employee were 40.1 in 2010.  If training and development are not taken seriously where you are…you have two options…find a new job where they are or find a way to develop the following 3 transferable skills on your own time and dollar.  What are transferable skills? They are the skills and abilities that transfer from job to job no matter which position(s) you have held in the past. One of the things that make these skills so valuable is that they can be used in such a wide array of work settings.

Top 3 Transferable Skills 

Technical Skills.  Not having the basic knowledge or enough knowledge of computer programs and equipment is a problem.  All jobs today require intermediate to advance Microsoft Office skills, Microsoft Outlook skills, and Industry-specific technology expertise (each industry has specific hardware and software you must know…find out what they are and learn to use them.)

Communication Skills.  Regardless of the size of your organization – whether it’s a large corporation, a small company, or even a home-based business – you need good communication skills if you want to succeed.  For starters, communication is about far more than the written or spoken word. It is about:

  • Body language
  • Tone of voice
  • Timing
  • Eye contact
  • Listening skills
  • Reading skills

Communication skills training should be an ongoing process, not a onetime thing.

Project Management 101 Skills.  The four basic elements of any project are: resources, time, money, and most importantly, scope. All these elements are interrelated. Each must be managed effectively. All must be managed together if the project, and the project manager, is to be a success.  In general, if you can master these areas, you can succeed in most projects.  For simple projects in a small organization, agreed milestones, a few checklists and someone to steer the project are all that are required.  For complex projects in a large organization a more structured approach is needed, to set up and approve the project, monitor and guides its progress, solve its problems, deliver the end product (or gain) and close it down.  The Project Management Institute at www.pmi.org offers a variety of learning opportunities – to fit your budget, interests and goals.

3. No increase in position or responsibilities – something could be wrong with you (you may not look capable or trustworthy for additional responsibilities) or with your company/boss (no upward mobility…business is too small, your boss has no respect for you or your needs)

Factor #4:   Are you getting too comfortable at your current workplace?   Lethargy robs you of motivation and without motivation you do nothing. If we do nothing we fail to live and develop. It’s often, but not always, easier to do nothing than to do something. But even the most lethargic among us will usually be motivated to scratch an unbearable itch.  For me, getting too comfortable is not a good thing… it indicates that I’ve found myself a comfort zone which I might have trouble dragging myself out of next time I need to.  If there’s still room to advance, and it looks like the next promotion is yours for the taking, it might be wise to stay put…if not, you are doing more damage to your career than you think…move on ASAP.  If you are happy with being lethargic and just going along for the ride that’s OK but remember most lethargic people do not have successful careers.

After thinking through all of the above, you will be able to make a decision whether to stay at the job or leave the place. The most important career rule to remember when resigning from any job is that you never want to leave on bad terms…if possible. Courtesy, etiquette, and professionalism go a long way. So, as much as you may want to tell off your boss or a co-worker, you should never burn any bridges, and before you make that final decision to quit, make sure that you have a new job or another source of income.

See you at the top!

 

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REFERENCES: You Need Them Now More Than Ever

While your resume, credentials and interview skills, can get you an interview, your job references can secure the position.   Unfortunately, many fail to create a powerful reference sheet, and they can make or break a successful job search.  The purpose of a reference sheet is to have a list of people who can verify and elaborate on how your skills and experience meet the requirements of the job.  Typically, employers request three professional and three personal references. Past employers, professors, advisors, or a customer with whom you had a good working relationship are the best professional references to have.

Keep in mind that your references should be on one single piece of paper. Make sure you don’t put “references available on request” on your resume. Mainly because it’s unnecessary and because employers will assume you have references and they will ask you when they are getting close to making you a job offer.

Avoid offering your references to a potential employer in an interview unless they ask for them.  It is rare that an employer will ask for references in a first interview, but it is possible which is why you want to have them with you.  If they do ask for your references, then give them your references sheet along with any letters of recommendation that you may have.

Plan ahead and get your references in order, before you need them. It will save time scrambling to put together a list at the last minute. Be aware that some employers will not provide references. Due to concerns about litigation, they will only provide job title, and dates of employment.  If that’s the case, be creative and try to find alternative reference writers who are willing to speak to your qualifications.

Sample Reference Sheet

 SUSIE JOB SEEKER
PO Box XXXX
City, State Zip Code
(555) 555-5555
e-mail: sj.seeker@yahoo.com

PROFESSIONAL REFERENCES
___________________________________________________________

 Past Supervisor: Fictitious Name, Title
Company Name
123 Street Address
City, Sate Zip Code
(555) 555-5555

Corporate Clients: Fictitious Name, Title
Company Name
123 Street Address
City, Sate Zip Code
(555) 555-5555

Skills Related Volunteer Work: Fictitious Name, Title
Organization/Company Name
123 Street Address
City, Sate Zip Code
(555) 555-5555

PERSONAL REFERENCES:
___________________________________________________________

Co-Worker: Fictitious Name, Title
Company Name
123 Street Address
City, Sate Zip Code
(555) 555-5555

Business Associate: Fictitious Name, Title
Company Name
123 Street Address
City, Sate Zip Code
(555) 555-5555

Personal Friend: Fictitious Name, Title
Company Name
123 Street Address
City, Sate Zip Code
(555) 555-5555

 

 

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