Sunday, August 22, 2010

Are You Addicted to Career Advice?

Whether you're unemployed and looking for work or just poking around to see what opportunities are out there, one thing is for certain: the abundance of job-related advice articles is staggering. In fact, every day it seems that the major search engines and news channels posts at least one if not multiple new articles on how to change careers or find a job.

Most of them include an interesting twist -- the introduction to a job you never considered (i.e., elevator repair work), news about high paying careers that only require limited education (i.e., technical jobs that you may qualify for with a 2-year degree or 18-month certificate), jobs with a twist (i.e., telecommuting, developing industries, stimulus-related opportunities), or career moves that appeal to your own special interests (i.e., jobs in sports, creative jobs, green jobs, event jobs were you can shop or play video games and earn money.)

What's great about these articles is that they can open your horizons to something you may not have previously known about or considered. But in all fairness, most of them don't actually tell you who's hiring for these positions beyond a generalized reference (schools, hospitals, government agencies, etc.) or provide a step-by-step guide for getting from where you are to where you want to be. And ultimately, for career advice to be genuinely helpful, it needs to go beyond simply informational.

I enjoy these articles as much as anyone -- and I enjoy the writers who pen them. Many of them are colleagues who regularly call and quote me. If you're looking for inspiration or someone to give you a fresh idea, these articles are the best! But if you're serious about making a change, challenge yourself to take a genuine career assessment such as the Green Light Scoring Model and then begin investigating industry-specific career resources that can help you go from dreaming about your ideal job to actually obtaining it.

Did you know the 2010 Creating Job Security Resource Guide includes more than 130 industry-specific resources? It includes the Green Light Scoring Model. And it's available online and in a bookstore near you.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

When Your Confidence Takes a Hit

I was talking to a lady yesterday who spent a large portion of 2010 unemployed, until recently. Her unemployment benefits were running low and she took a "bridge" position. Once she started working, she found the pace of the office to be more than she bargained for.

This lady who prided herself on providing excellent customer service to 25 patients a day, was now working with a team of six to process 270 patients a day, making it impossible for her to give any customer more than the most basic of processing. Every day she was struggling to keep up with the software fields, phones, insurance and minimal greeting requirements. In a world where a seemingly simple question like, "Does heart disease run in your family?" once might have taken three or four minutes while the patient explained, she was now asked to hasten their response with, "Yes or no please." She was miserable.

She explained that she was half worried about and half hoping to get termed daily; even though she had taken exact notes of what buttons to push and what fields to populate, the pace and the environment were totally overwhelming to her. When tears began to roll down her cheeks as she whispered, "I've never been unable to keep up with the work but this compromises everything I believe in," it was evident that her beliefs weren't her biggest challenge.

Her confidence had taken a major hit. She was treading water and going nowhere. The job paid less than she made in 25 years and at the same time took away everything she valued about working in a patient-focused environment. And once she voiced that, she could start creating a plan to find a more suitable position for her qualifications.

Has your confidence taken a hit? Has the economy made you doubt your own value? As the marketplace changes, some jobs do become more sought after while other fields become flooded with qualified candidates. It's important to be able to accurately assess if one of these scenarios applies to you. But through it all, while the marketplace may change, your value never lessens. You just need to feel secure enough in your skills and experience to adjust your sails to the economy rather than dropping them completely when your boat is bobbing around on an angry sea.

For the quick, easy-to-use tools you need to jumpstart your career today, visit

Sunday, May 23, 2010

New Grads: You Hold the Secret Key!

First things first... CONGRATULATIONS!

Not only are you graduating, you are jumping into the job market ahead of many of your peers. You already know the job market is tough. What you may not know is that you have the advantage, even over people who have experience. You hold the secret key. You just need to know which important door it needs to open first.

Five years ago, the world grew increasingly intoxicated by customer service. In an age where credit was king, almost everyone had buying power and with that a sense of entitled pampering. Except for the very wealthy and those in senior level management positions, extreme pampering has gone out the door except for 30 minutes here and there in strip mall nail salons and full-service car detailing shops (mostly available in metropolitan areas).

That's where you come in. Managers today are required to do far more with less staff and reduced budgets. New grads with talent, energy, creativity, and who haven't already worked for $50K+ a year (and believe that high pay and full benefits at no cost are entitlements) are positioned nicely to take the jobs that more seasoned workers may be passed over for.

If you were a manager and you could hire someone who was smart, eager and always available, or someone who came with experience, expectations, and possibly outside obligations -- and who may be taking a job as a bridge position until something "better" came along -- which one would appeal to you?

But there are some things you need to know (that your experienced counterparts have learned through their years on the career ladder.)

1. Always dress, talk and act professionally.
2. Show up on time or a few minutes early.
3. Think customer service! Be the very best No. 2 person possible to your boss.
4. Focus on your employer. Always think, "What can I do for them?" Once you are indispensable, then you can make requests or share preferences -- and if you're valuable enough, you may just get them.
5. Follow-up on everything. Follow-up on projects. Follow-up with thank you notes to colleagues, clients and other people with whom you come into contact. Follow-up on behalf of your boss. "Jane asked me to call and thank you for ______." People will think more highly of your boss and more highly of you -- and your boss will appreciate your proactive approach.

What is the secret key? Let hiring managers know that you are an exceptional No. 2 and that they won't regret giving you a chance to help them shine. Be the very best No. 2 person to your manager, and when it comes time for a promotion, you'll be first on the list.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I hear you and I understand

Several of you have direct messaged Twitter @Job_Security over the past few weeks asking why I hadn't been posting as much, and when I was planning to offer my next class at Kaplan University. Recently, life has made me starkly aware of the fact that despite my best intentions, sometimes I just don't have the energy to get everything done.

For years I have encouraged job seekers to set benchmarks for yourselves and keep going even when you're tired. Aside from a job or job search, there is so much to which we find ourselves committed these days -- families, sports, clubs, housework, gardens, paperwork, etc.

Spring is arriving and not a day too soon for many. I spent a day I had reserved for organizing my tax back-up for my accountant to instead cleaning out my garage. A friend is coming to visit this week and it didn't make sense for her to park on the street just because half my garage was disorganized. Now she can park inside -- but my taxes still need to be prepped. How many times have you set time aside to do something only to spend it on something else? Does it help to know that you're not alone?

For those who are discouraged about long job searches, I hear you and I understand. Life is never as simple as only handing us one challenge at a time.

In addition to writing this blog, guest lecturing at multiple universities, granting interviews to national publications and continually researching the newest, hottest job resources, I'm also the Director of Marketing & PR for two hospitals. It's an exciting challenge and I love it. But it means I often come home to a sink with dirty dishes or a garbage that "needs to go out" today.

And on top of this, my dad is very ill. He was diagnosed with aggressive kidney cancer in January. How many of your are like me in that work and projects offer up an emotional escape from dealing with the realities of life?

I'm still going to encourage you to keep the faith, keep setting benchmarks, and keep networking. If you haven't taken the time to plug yourself into the Green Light Scoring Model for several months or more than a year, do yourself a favor and make the time to revisit this. You may find that your interests or your priorities have changed. The Green Light Scoring Model (included in the Creating Job Security Resource Guide) can support you in finding the job that is most ideal for you right now.

And finally, when you don't accomplish everything on your list, try not to feel discouraged or lose hope. What matters is that you do the best you can with each day you have.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

State of the Union to Focus on Jobs - it’s time to put forth real solutions that get Americans back to work!

With nearly 16 million people officially unemployed and millions more underemployed, it seems only natural that unemployment is top of mind for most Americans, and that it should be President Obama's focus for the State of the Union speech this coming Wednesday. Despite the political sensitivities of the moment, employement (or unemployment) is not merely a political platform. It's an American concern and something all leaders should be concerned with working together on rather than using to distinguish themselves from their philosophical opponents.

While each side will have their say and the political pundits will no doubt weigh in too, unemployment should be a concern that brings us together.

If you are among the millions of families affected by the economy -- and who isn't? -- it doesn't matter which sides exist or which political party is more concerned with which "voters." It shouldn't be about unions or non-union workers. There is only one issue that matters and that is how government and business will work together to incent job growth.

Even healthcare reform, while of critical importance, has become a divisive diversion and should be shelved temporarily while we work together to get Americans back to work. Just as the country came together after 9-11, it's time to come together to create real solutions that get Americans working and America back on track.

If you are looking for a job or a career in a specific industry, the 2010 edition of the Creating Job Security Resource Guide includes specific job portals that post jobs that are available now in the following industries: accounting, advanced manufacturing, avaiation, bilingual job opportunities, biotech / pharmaceuticals, broadcasting / news, chefs / food preparation, computer jobs / IT, construction, creative professionals... and 30 more industries you or someone you know may be interested in today.