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.

Recommended by Forbes

 

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.

MORE:

Read More


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!

Recommended by Forbes

 

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!

MORE:

 

Read More


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.

MORE

Read More


25 cities adding (and losing) the most jobs in 2017

 

Here is a look at the five cities adding and losing the most jobs in 2017.

 

2017 may stand out for many events and developments, and among them is the exceptional year turned in by the labor market. For one, U.S. unemployment dropped to 4.1% in October, the lowest since December 2000.

Barring a massive exodus of workers from the labor force, falling unemployment almost always reflects increased hiring, which in turn bodes well for the economy. But while national conditions are favorable, trends vary substantially across the country, and not all local economies have been doing as well.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed monthly metro area employment figures in 2017 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. From January through October, employment — the number of Americans currently employed — rose by 1.2%. Employment rose faster over that period in 187 of the nation’s 388 metro areas. It declined in 78 metro areas.

Most of the cities adding the most jobs in 2017 reported uninterrupted employment increases over the course of the year, but this was not always the case. Both Yuma, Arizona and Corvallis, Oregon reported among the largest employment increases this year, yet had some fairly dramatic employment fluctuations. In Yuma, for example, seasonally adjusted employment levels dropped for four consecutive months in the summer before rising again in September and October.

More: Best- and worst-run states in America: Which one is top rated?

More: These are the 5 worst cities for Black Americans

Similarly, while the trend in most cities losing the most jobs was one of steady decline, in several job changes were somewhat erratic. Employment in the St. Joseph metro area, on the border of Montana and Kansas, for example, surged in July before dropping in October.

 

 

25 cities adding the most jobs in 2017

 

 

 

1. Bellingham, WA Employment change: 5,609 (+5.5%) Jan. 2017 employment: 102,069 Oct. 2017 employment: 107,678 Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 4.5% Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+16.9% employment chg.)  

 

25 cities adding the most jobs in 2017

 

Cities adding the most jobs

25. Janesville-Beloit, Wisc.

Employment change: 2,826 (+3.5%)

Jan. 2017 employment: 80,978

Oct. 2017 employment: 83,804

Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 3.4%

Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+11.5% employment chg.)

24. Corvallis, Ore.

Employment change: 1,627 (+3.6%)

Jan. 2017 employment: 45,537

Oct. 2017 employment: 47,164

Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 3.3% (lowest 25%)

Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+8.3% employment chg.)

23. Yuma, Ariz.

Employment change: 2,883 (+3.6%)

Jan. 2017 employment: 79,504

Oct. 2017 employment: 82,387

Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 17.4% (highest 10%)

Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+4.5% employment chg.)

22. Johnson City, Tenn.

Employment change: 3,147 (+3.7%)

Jan. 2017 employment: 84,679

Oct. 2017 employment: 87,826

Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 3.6%

Strongest sector: Government (+11.1% employment chg.)

21. Chattanooga, Tenn.-Ga.

Employment change: 9,377 (+3.8%)

Jan. 2017 employment: 249,982

Oct. 2017 employment: 259,359

Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 3.5%

Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+8.2% employment chg.)

20. Eugene, Ore.

Employment change: 6,475 (+3.8%)

Jan. 2017 employment: 172,152

Oct. 2017 employment: 178,627

Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 4.6%

Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+13.7% employment chg.)

19. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore.-Wash.

Employment change: 46,621 (+3.8%)

Jan. 2017 employment: 1,230,028

Oct. 2017 employment: 1,276,649

Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 4.2%

Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+19.4% employment chg.)

18. Bremerton-Silverdale, Wash.

Employment change: 4,366 (+3.9%)

Jan. 2017 employment: 111,618

Oct. 2017 employment: 115,984

Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 4.6%

Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+7.1% employment chg.)

17. Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Fla.

Employment change: 6,466 (+4.1%)

Jan. 2017 employment: 158,952

Oct. 2017 employment: 165,418

Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 3.4%

Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+9.1% employment chg.)

16. Auburn-Opelika, Ala.

Employment change: 2,938 (+4.2%)

Jan. 2017 employment: 70,002

Oct. 2017 employment: 72,940

Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 3.1% (lowest 25%)

Strongest sector: Government (+10.9% employment chg.)

15. Bend-Redmond, Ore.

Employment change: 3,684 (+4.2%)

Jan. 2017 employment: 87,205

Oct. 2017 employment: 90,889

Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 4.2%

Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+22.8% employment chg.)

 

14. Morristown, TN Employment change: 2,043 (+4.2%) Jan. 2017 employment: 48,359 Oct. 2017 employment: 50,402 Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 3.6% Strongest sector: Education and health services (+14.5% employment chg.)  (Photo: Home4tnindustry / Wikimedia Commons)

 

14. Morristown, Tenn.

Employment change: 2,043 (+4.2%)

Jan. 2017 employment: 48,359

Oct. 2017 employment: 50,402

Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 3.6%

Strongest sector: Education and health services (+14.5% employment chg.)

13. Olympia-Tumwater, Wash.

Employment change: 5,548 (+4.4%)

Jan. 2017 employment: 125,170

Oct. 2017 employment: 130,718

Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 4.7%

Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+18.8% employment chg.)

12. Longview, Wash.

Employment change: 1,885 (+4.5%)

Jan. 2017 employment: 41,617

Oct. 2017 employment: 43,502

Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 5.6% (highest 25%)

Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+6.5% employment chg.)

11. Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tenn.

Employment change: 43,392 (+4.6%)

Jan. 2017 employment: 949,989

Oct. 2017 employment: 993,381

Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 2.4% (lowest 10%)

Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+7.2% employment chg.)

 

MORE

Read More


How to Get a Job If You’re Overqualified

One of New York job coach Robert Hellmann’s clients had an impressive résumé as a senior human resources manager. The client had logged 20 years of experience, managed 30 people and commanded a budget of $10 million. But he found himself at a point in his life where he didn’t want the pressure that comes with a senior position. Instead, he was shooting for a job that only required eight years of experience and few managerial responsibilities.

Hellmann’s advice: Trim the résumé and focus it on the No. 1 must-do of job search–showing how you can help the employer. “We took out the emphasis on managing and leading and on having overseen the $10 million budget,” explains Hellmann, who teaches career management courses at New York University. “Those points created a picture of someone who was not right for this job.” His client landed the position.

READ MORE:

Read More


How To Turn Down A Job Offer

Here’s something most people didn’t have to worry about for the last half-decade: turning down a job offer.

But now, after years of layoffs and hiring freezes, plenty of corporations are starting to increase staffing levels again. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported there were 162,000 jobs added on public and private payrolls last month—and chances are, at least some of those newly employed people were offered more than one position and had to decline an offer.

 

READ MORE:

Read More


The good news is you got the job. Which, in this still-reeling economy, is quite an accomplishment. But the bad news is you’re worried you might be settling for a position that isn’t the right fit for you. So where do you go from here?

Look, the honest truth is there are times when you’ll have to take any job you can get, even if you know it’s a bad fit. Maybe your house is about to be foreclosed on, you can’t make rent, or you have a family depending on you for income. We completely understand there will be times when finding ANY job is a priority over the PERFECT job.

But then there’s the flip side of that coin, which is taking a job just for the sake of having a job even if you have the luxury of holding out for something better. Maybe you’re frustrated because your job search has taken far longer than expected, or you graduated college and you’re the last of your friends to find steady employment. Those situations aren’t ideal, but neither is taking a “filler” job that won’t really benefit your career.

To help guide you, here are some very valid reasons to reject a job offer.

READ MORE:

Read More


blogs_0005_blog_18

Once a new job has been accepted, you need to consider is the timing of your resignation. Since two weeks’ notice is considered the norm, make sure your resignation properly coincides with your start date at the new company.

Try to avoid an extended start date. Even if your new job begins in 10 weeks, don’t give 10 weeks’ notice; wait eight weeks and then give two weeks’ notice. This way, you’ll protect yourself from disaster, in the unlikely event your new company announces a hiring freeze a month before you come on board. By staying at your old job for only two weeks after you’ve announced your resignation, you won’t be subjected to the envy, scorn, or feelings of professional impotence that may result from your new role as a lame-duck employee.

Some companies will make your exit plans for you. I know a candidate whose employer had the security guard escort him out of the building the moment he announced his intention to go to work for a direct competitor. Fortunately, he was still given two weeks’ pay.

Your resignation should be handled in person, preferably on a Friday afternoon. Ask your direct supervisor if you can speak with him privately in his office. When you announce your intention to resign, you should also hand your supervisor a letter which states your last date of employment with the company. Let him know that you’ve enjoyed working with him, but that an opportunity came along that you couldn’t pass up, and that your decision to leave was made carefully, and doesn’t reflect any negative feelings you have toward the company or the staff.

You should also add that your decision is final, and that you would prefer not to be made a counteroffer, since you wouldn’t want your refusal to accept more money to appear as a personal affront. Let your supervisor know that you appreciate all the company’s done for you; and that you’ll do everything in your power to make your departure as smooth and painless as possible.

Finally, ask if there’s anything you can do during the transition period over the next two weeks, such as help train your successor, tie up loose ends, or delegate tasks.

Keep your resignation letter short, simple, and to the point. There’s no need to go into detail about your new job, or what led to your decision to leave. If these issues are important to your old employer, he’ll schedule an exit interview for you, at which time you can hash out your differences ad infinitum. Be sure to provide a carbon copy or photocopy of your resignation letter for your company’s personnel file. This way, the circumstances surrounding your resignation will be well documented for future reference.

Read More


blogs_0006_blog_19

Imagine a co-worker who trashes his cubicle, plays practical jokes on his replacement and slinks off with the copier on his last day of work. Is this a person you’d recommend to a prospective employer? Or expect your company to rehire? Or want to work with again? Probably not.

We can only hope that the reported antics surrounding the Clintons’ White House exodus are untrue, because bad behavior—from a chief executive, no less—degrades the employment experience for the rest of us.

When faced with leaving a job, it’s best to exercise decorum, whether the move is voluntary or forced. To make the best of an awkward situation, here are some tips to remember:

  • Keep your mouth shut. Leaving a job (like ending a personal relationship) is strictly a private matter; and waving your dirty laundry serves no purpose.
  • Stay cool. Even in the context of a “confidential” exit interview, there’s nothing to gain from scorching the Earth.
  • Keep your distance. Soliciting support (or fomenting dissent) from your co-workers might create the impression of a conspiracy or coup d’etat—and unwittingly implicate innocent people.
  • Burn bridges at your own peril. The company you left yesterday may need your services tomorrow. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.

Sure, it’s easy to be gracious when everything’s rosy. But it takes an extra dose of character to act like an adult when the going gets tough. If you’re ever caught in a sudden employment shift, try to maintain your composure and consider the consequences of your actions.

Workplace trends like flexible schedules and casual Fridays may come and go—but good manners are forever.

Otherwise, Shakespeare wouldn’t have written, “A person is remembered for his entrances and exits.”

Read More


blogs_0007_blog_20

If your intention to make a job change is sincere, and nothing will change your decision to leave, you should still keep up your guard.

Why? Because unless you know how to diffuse your current employer’s retaliation, you may end up psychologically wounded, or right back at the job you wanted to leave.

The best way to shield yourself from the inevitable mixture of emotions surrounding the act of submitting your resignation is to remember that employers follow a predictable, three-stage pattern when faced with a resignation:

Tactic #1: Your boss will express his shock. “You sure picked a fine time to leave! Who’s going to finish the work we started?” he might say.

The implication is that you’re irreplaceable. The company might as well ask, “How will we ever live without you?” To answer this assertion, you can reply, “If I were run over by a truck on my way to work tomorrow, I feel that somehow, this company would survive.”

Tactic #2: Your boss will start to probe. “Who’s the new company? What sort of position did you accept? What are they paying you?”

Here you must be careful not to disclose too much information, or appear too enthusiastic. Otherwise, you run the risk of feeding your current employer with ammunition he can use against you later, such as, “I’ve heard some pretty terrible things about your new company” or, “They’ll make everything look great until you actually get there. Then you’ll see what a sweat shop that place really is.”

Tactic #3: Your boss will make you an offer to try and keep you from leaving. “You know that raise you and I were talking about a few months back? Well, I forgot to tell you: We were just getting it processed yesterday.”

To this you can respond, “Gee, today you seem pretty concerned about my happiness and well-being. Where were you yesterday, before I announced my intention to resign?”

It may take several days for the three stages to run their course, but believe me, sooner or later, you’ll find yourself engaged in conversations similar to these. More than once, candidates have called me after they’ve resigned, to tell me that their old company followed the three-stage pattern exactly as I described it. Not only were they better prepared to diffuse a counteroffer attempt, they found the whole sequence to be almost comical in its predictability.

Read More