Ten Signs You’re Shooting Too Low In Your Job Search

 

Dear Liz,

 

I’ve been job-hunting since October. Maybe I was naive thinking my job search would be quick and easy. I’ve been in the insurance industry for over twenty years.

 

I’ve been an agent, an office manager and held almost every insurance job there is.

 

I’ve only had one in-person job interview so far. I’ve applied for numerous jobs but in the other cases I either got a phone interview or no interview.

 

They keep telling me I’m overqualified for the jobs I’m applying for. If I’m overqualified doesn’t that make me the perfect candidate, because I can obviously do the job?

 

I thought if I took my target position down a level or two from the last few jobs I’ve held, I would get hired much faster. I’m applying for jobs I performed fifteen years ago and I thought that would do the trick but it’s not working.

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I’m sick of job hunting. I would accept anything. I still have my savings and retirement accounts because I’ve been living frugally since October, but I’m tired of job-hunting and I want to be employed as fast as possible. What am I doing wrong?

 

 

Dear Harlan,

 

It sounds like you’re shooting too low in your job search, and that is almost always a show-stopper. Employers don’t want to hire people who could perform the job with one hand tied behind their back.

 

Here are some of the reasons why not:

 

  1. They are afraid you’ll quit for a better job the minute you have the opportunity to do so.

 

  1. They are afraid that even if you say “I’ll take this job, a lower-level role that pays less than I’ve earned since 2004 — no problem!” you won’t be happy. You’ll be antsy. They don’t need that.

 

  1. They want to hire someone they can train their own way.

 

  1. They get spooked by any candidate who seems to know more about the field than they do.

 

There could be an age-discrimination aspect depending on your age, but the key is that you are shooting too low and recruiters can tell that you’re doing so. They don’t want to hire somebody for whom this job is not a natural step along your career path.

 

How can we blame them for that? It’s fear that is making you shoot low in your job search and even though everyone can relate to that fear, the remedy for the fear is not to take any job you can get but to stop and think about what you do best and what you really want to do.

 

You have to do some reflection to figure out where your sweet spot lies — at the intersection of the things you do well, the things you love to do and the needs in the talent marketplace.

 

Your fearful mindset (“I still have my savings, but I’m sick of job-hunting and I want to be employed as fast as possible!”) is killing your job search.

 

People can read energy very well.

 

Fearful energy is not appealing in a senior-level candidate or any candidate. Your need to get hired fast is what’s artificially depressing your job-search altitude and keeping you from having the conversations you should be having with hiring managers in pain.

 

You have breathing room. You have your savings and retirement accounts. Take time to stop and figure out your next step. Give up the idea of getting any job at all. Employers want to hire somebody who is dying to do the job they’re hiring for — not somebody who’s merely willing to do the job because it represents a break from job-hunting.

 

Here are ten signs you’re shooting too low in your job search:

 

  1. Recruiters view your LinkedIn profile and say “Wow! You have lot of heavy-duty experience. Are you sure you’re interested in this much lower-level job?” They are skeptical. Do you think your hiring manager will be any less skeptical? Don’t use your precious mojo trying to talk anybody into interviewing you!

 

  1. When you show up for an interview or get on a call for a phone interview, the interviewer’s voice indicates surprise or puzzlement. They can’t match the person on the phone (you) with the job opening they’re ready to interview you for.

 

  1. Whenever you get a “no thanks” notice, it gushes about your vast experience and skills and closes with “….but we need someone with a background closer to the job spec.”

 

  1. Recruiters always express surprise that you’re willing to work for the salary number you give them. The gap between your expected salary target and your actual salary target is almost always a red flag for recruiters — whether you are asking for more or less money than the position pays.

 

  1. When you tell recruiters you’d be more than delighted to take a step down in your career they sound less than excited to hear it. Naturally they wonder “Why can’t this candidate get a job at their level?”

 

  1. On your job interviews, you answer every question with a precise, expert opinion on the spot. The interviewer is taken aback — maybe even intimidated. Most companies don’t hire people who intimidate their interviewers.

 

  1. You’ve heard at least one hiring manager say “Heck,you could do my job!” and they’re right.

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Ten Rules Job Seekers Are Allowed To Break Now

The working world is changing dramatically around us.

 

The job-search world has changed, too.

You can’t be a complacent job seeker these days. You have to be proactive. You can’t follow the old rules:

 

  1. Apply for jobs online, then wait.

 

  1. If you don’t hear anything, apply for more jobs online.

 

  1. Wait as long as it takes for you to hear back, and one day you’ll get a job.

 

Forget that nonsense! You have to break out of that mold to get a good job these days.

 

You might think it’s too risky to break the old, traditional job-search rules. If you don’t break a few rules, you could wait forever to get your new job!

 

For years, department managers have gone around and outside their organizations’ formal recruiting processes to fill their job openings.

 

They use their networks and their employees’ networks as recruiting sources. They meet people at industry events and keep in touch with them, and hire them down the road.

 

You can tap into the same informal networks to get your next job. You can break the old rules and step into your power!

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Here are ten rules job-seekers are allowed to break now:

 

  1. The rule that says your resume must be dusty and formulaic.

 

Don’t use meaningless, robotic language like “Results-oriented professional” in your resume. Tell your human-story in your own words, instead!

 

  1. The rule that says you can’t use the word “I” in your resume.

 

You can use “I” in your resume — it’s your principal branding document! You can use “I” in your LinkedIn profile, too.

 

  1. The rule that says the only way to apply for a job is through the company’s online job application portal.

 

Black Hole recruiting portals are the worst job-search channel there is. Use your network, or reach out to hiring managers directly.

 

  1. The rule that says you can’t reach out to your hiring manager directly.

 

Yes you can!

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Millennials, Here’s Why Job Titles Don’t Matter Anymore

I can’t tell you how many times my Dad used to ask me about what exactly it was again that I was doing for a living.

Coming from the “black and white” world of accounting on Wall Street, he wasn’t satisfied with my answer that didn’t fit neatly into a box like lawyer, doctor, or teacher. As the founder of an online community, I was proud of my work and wanted badly to convey to my Dad what I was up to—but he always seemed to respond with a blank stare followed by defeated resignation.

 

 

What I’m finding is that I’m not the only one having this problem. In fact, the majority of the millennials I talk to today are opting for work that’s not clearly defined.

The millennial worker today wears many hats—whether that’s copywriter, marketer, sales strategist, or bookkeeper. We’re adaptive to the shifting demands of a fast-paced work environment and the skills we need to learn are often just a Google search away.

This week on the Unconventional Life Podcast, I interviewed one millennial woman who’s on the leading edge of nontraditional work and thriving.

Meet Tash Price, the business developer and manager of Engine House VFX, an award-winning UK-based 2-D, 3-D, CGI and VFX animation studio who has served clientele like BBC and Sony. Engine House VFX covers a wide range of projects within advertising, gaming, architectural visualization and film. Their work has been featured online, on TV, at events, and in films and games.

“You’ll get into the conversation of what you do for a living and you’ll say animation and people can’t quite seem to grasp it. They’ll quickly move on and they seem confused by it because it’s not the standard job role,” Price says.

But according to Price, the conversation doesn’t have to stop there. Rather than moving on, you can educate others about what you do in a way that promotes connection and redefines what it means to work in the 21st century.

I spoke with a number of other millennials who are finding fulfillment in nontraditional job roles, and here’s what they had to say:

  • Job Titles Don’t Reflect Lifestyle. In the past, jobs were much less integrated than they are today. Going to work meant punching in a time card at on office for a designated number of hours. Today, technology enables millennials to work seamlessly from their devices so that being “on” and “off” the clock is less rigid and more fused with lifestyle.
  • • Eric Termuende, an entrepreneur, speaker, and the author of Rethink Work, says, “With the capabilities of technology increasing so quickly, the ability to work from more places, using more devices, longer hours every day makes the job less about the seemingly limited title, and more about the holistic experience. In many cases, the title doesn’t encompass the life Millennials are living as a result of the job (or jobs) they are doing.”

Price’s animation studio is embodying this new “integrated” work model. ”Instead of having hundreds of people sitting behind a cubicle we have a small core team and we work with lots of freelancers who are based all over the world. It means everyone gets the lifestyle they want and we can hand-pick the artists we want for the job. We’ve got people working in Turkey, Sweden, Iran, the US, the Netherlands, Japan,” she says.

  • Job Titles Act As Constraints. Today’s millennial workers may have bigger ambitions than previous generations. Just a few decades ago, only a marginal percent of American workers held a college degree, and the majority of women preferred to stay at home.

As millennials tackle a host of global issues, both men and women are rising to the occasion with a shift towards businesses that do social justice. 92% of millennials believe businesses should be measured by more than profit. Undra Robinson, a millennial entrepreneur, says “Millennials believe our potential in life is limitless and want to change the world, and job titles only add constraints. They are polar opposites.”

Millennials Aren’t Motivated By Job Titles.

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Best and Worst Jobs For 2016

A lot of factors go into determining what is a good or a bad job. How in demand is it? Is there opportunity for growth and advancement? What is the work environment like? Is the job dangerous? Is it stressful? How much autonomy will I have? Perhaps most important is how much it pays. We’ve taken all these variables into consideration to come up with our list of the Best and Worst Jobs For 2016.

Best Jobs

Occupation: Event Planner Job Description: Coordinate all aspects of meetings, conventions, shows and affairs Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree, preferably in hospitality Projected Growth: 33% Average Salary: $68,000

 

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The Battle For Information Technology Jobs 2014

#Tech Jobs

In the town of Verona on the rural fringes of Madison, Wisc., there’s a Google GOOGL +1.54%-like campus that houses one of the country’s most rapidly growing tech companies, and one of the least well known. Founded in 1979, the medical software maker Epic has grown to employ 6,800 people, most of whom work at its 5.5 million-square-foot headquarters complex, which sprawls over 800 acres of what was farmland until the early 1990s.

Despite annual revenue estimated at $1.5 billion, the company is congenitally publicity shy, a characteristic associated with its founder and CEO, Judy Faulkner. Yet in its quiet, unassuming way, Epic is emblematic of the expansion of the information industry in the Madison area. Employment in the metropolitan area’s information sector is up 28% since 2008, among the fastest growth in the country over that period.

2014 Technology Jobs

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The best (and worst) jobs for 2014

CareerCast is out with their annual ranking of the 10 best and 10 worst jobs for 2014, and let’s just say that math and science guys everywhere are about to high-five.

Nine out of 10 of the best jobs fell into the STEM career category (science, technology, engineering and math), with the “numbers guys,” in particular, locking in three of the top four spots.

“This absolutely verifies the importance of STEM careers,” said Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast.com and JobsRated.com.

CareerCast looks at 200 of the most populated jobs and then ranks them on a variety of criteria that fall into four key categories: environment, income, outlook and stress. (Stress alone has 11 different factors, from high risk to tough deadlines.)

“When you look across a range of criteria — not just salary and hiring outlook but also the work environment, physical factors and stress — [STEM] jobs are the best,” Lee said.

Mathematician was named the best job for 2014, followed by tenured university professor and statistician.

There were some wild swings in the rankings this year — all three of those top jobs jumped double-digits on the list. Normally, you see single-digit moves from year to year. The reason is because the Bureau of Labor Statistics just updated their database to include more recent statistics and projections through 2022.

The results weren’t as dramatic in the 10 worst jobs — many of last year’s worst remained on the list, only moving a few spots either way. That’s because they tend to be dangerous jobs with low pay — factors that simply aren’t changing for these jobs.

Lumberjack earned the distinction of being the worst job, followed by newspaper reporter and enlisted military personnel.

The worst jobs list is where you saw residual effects of the recession peek through: Some of these jobs took an extra hit in the hiring outlook due to industry consolidation, municipal cutbacks or other factors.

One interesting thing you’ll find on the worst list: Many of these people love their jobs, be they lumberjacks, firefighters or broadcasters.

“There are always going to be happy lumberjacks!” Lee quipped, adding, “We’ve talked to happy lumberjacks who say, ‘I love what I do. I love being outdoors. I don’t care that I don’t make much money or that there are layoffs pending.”

The list has a very practical application for teachers, who use it to launch a discussion with their students about careers.

Hmm. That’s a great point. You never hear a kid say he wants to be an actuary when he grows up, do you?!

Hey, someone had to get that conversation started!

The 10 best jobs for 2014:

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Electrical and Electronics Engineer Job Outlook

Employment of electrical and electronics engineers is expected to grow 6 percent from 2010 to 2020, slower than the average for all occupations. Job growth is expected because of electrical and electronics engineers’ versatility in developing and applying emerging technologies. On the other hand, employment growth will be tempered by the slow growth or decline of most manufacturing sectors in which they are employed.

Growth for electrical and electronics engineers will largely occur in engineering services firms, as more companies are expected to cut costs by contracting engineering services rather than directly employing engineers. These engineers will also experience job growth in computer systems design and wireless telecommunications as these industries continue to implement more powerful portable computing devices.

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Software Engineer Developer Career Outlook

Employment of software developers is projected to grow 30 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment of applications developers is projected to grow 28 percent, and employment of systems developers is projected to grow 32 percent.

The main reason for the rapid growth is a large increase in the demand for computer software. Mobile technology requires new applications. Also, the healthcare industry is greatly increasing its use of computer systems and applications. Finally, concerns over cybersecurity should result in more investment in security software to protect computer networks and electronic infrastructure.

Systems developers should see new opportunities because of an increase in the number of products that use software.

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Engineer Career Outlook

Employment of materials engineers is expected to grow 9 percent from 2010 to 2020, slower than the average for all occupations.

Materials engineers will be needed to design uses for new materials both in traditional industries, such as aerospace manufacturing, and in industries focused on new medical or scientific products.

Materials engineers are in demand in growing fields such as nanotechnology and biomedical engineering. They find new uses for these technologies, which can help to address problems with consumer products, industrial processes, and medical needs. Because the work of materials engineers is closely connected to organizations’ research and development, firms will likely seek to draw upon the skills of materials engineers to stay at the forefront of their respective industries.

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Engineer Career Outlook

Employment of chemical engineers is expected to grow 6 percent from 2010 to 2020, slower than the average for all occupations. Demand for chemical engineers’ services depends largely on demand for the products of various manufacturing industries. Employment will be sustained by the ability of these engineers to stay on the forefront of new, emerging technologies.

Many chemical engineers work in industries that have output sought by many manufacturing firms. Therefore, employment is tied to the state of overall manufacturing in the United States.

However, chemical engineering is also migrating into new fields, such as nanotechnology, alternative energies, and biotechnology, which will likely increase demand for engineering services in many manufacturing industries.

Job Prospects

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