Job Loss Happens…

Be More Than Prepared

Always have an up-to-date resume ready to send. You never know when an opportunity that is too good to pass up might come along. If you’re not on LinkedIn yet, create a LinkedIn Profile and start making connections who can help your job search.

Don’t Wait

If you are laid-off, file for unemployment benefits right away. You will most likely be able to file online or by phone. Waiting could delay your benefits check.

Get Help

Utilize free or inexpensive services that provide career counseling and job search assistance such as college career offices, state Department of Labor offices or your local public library. Many libraries provide workshops, programs, classes, computers and printers you can use, and other resources to help you with your job search.

 Work with CareerPathsNW

We are the Pacific Northwest’s leading recruiting agency, its a no cost service to the candidates and if you are in the market for a job, we can help connect you with the right jobs with companies that are looking for individuals like you. Come see us for a free consultation.

Does your resume do its job?

A resume is a marketing document, not a legal document. It needs to showcase you. You are so much more than a collection of skills and educational attainments!

Right now, your resume is not doing its job for you because there is so little of you in it. You can easily power up your resume. Right now, your resume’s problem is that it is too timid and too wan. It sounds like anybody’s resume, or nobody’s. The biggest mistake most people make when they write their resumes is that they fall into a Mad Libs style of writing. They write in the traditional business language. You’ve seen it before. It looks like this:

Results-oriented Marketing professional with a bottom-line orientation, eager for a new challenge that will allow me to make a significant contribution to the bottom line.

This is garbage language that could never do you justice and will never entice anyone to get to know you better.

Let’s try the opening paragraph (the Summary) of your resume again:

I’m a healthcare Marketer with a passion for supporting the sales process through traditional and online marketing efforts. At XYZ I helped the company grow from $2M in annual sales to $20M in four years.

Use the word “I” in your resume. You are the subject of your resume! Tell your story. Tell us what you do well and what you like to do. That’s how your competence, intelligence and confidence will come across on the page! Go through your resume and highlight all the traditional verbiage you find. Then, work your way through your resume replacing this boring made-up language with normal human speech. Don’t list your tasks and duties from previous jobs. Tell us what you left in your wake in each job, instead!

Hiring managers want to see a living, breathing person in a resume — not a thicket of boring robot language that brands you as a boring robot person.  You are anything but that! Come out from behind that robotic persona and be yourself in your resume.

Not every hiring manager will appreciate it, but so what? You only need one hiring manager to get you — and therefore deserve you on their team.

Seattle Salary Negotiations

When you’re finally down to the wire on your impending job offer, there will come a time to talk numbers. “That one last conversation — where you negotiate salary — can unnerve even the most savvy job seeker.”

While most employers expect you to come back with a counteroffer, many job candidates avoid the practice and leave money on the table. “You don’t have to be one of them,” she says. “You’d be well served in your career to become comfortable with the process. You get one chance to accept a final compensation package at your company, so be prepared to make a persuasive argument.”

So how do you stay true to your target without alienating the hiring manager or hurting your prospects?

First, to prepare for that discussion, you’ll want to do your research ahead of time and figure out what someone with your experience and skills typically makes in this particular role.

Once you hear their offer and it’s time to negotiate, you should keep those numbers in mind, “but also consider the nature of the first offer and how much bargaining power you think you have,” Taylor says. And think about whether you’re currently under- or overpaid.

As a general rule of thumb, however, it’s usually appropriate to ask for 10% to 20% more than what you’re currently making. 

That means if you’re making $50,000 a year now, you can easily ask for $55,000 to $60,000 without seeming greedy or getting laughed at.

“If the original offer is on the low side of the scale, you have more leverage,” Taylor explains. “If you get an offer for 20% over your current salary, you can still negotiate for more — ask for an additional 5% — but know that you’re already in good stead.”

The bottom line: Do the math (and your research!) beforehand — know what a 10% to 20% pay increase would total, and what the going rate for someone with your skills is — and ask for that amount. Worst case scenario, the employer says “no.”

Cloud-Base Your Career Materials

You’re scrolling through job listings over your lunch break, and suddenly you see your dream job.

Naturally, you want to apply immediately—but then you realize your career materials are all on a zip drive you left at home. And that means you’ll have to wait until you’re back home before you can fill out an application.

Cut your response time
While there’s nothing wrong with keeping your career materials on a zip at home, it can be inconvenient and delay your application. If, on the other hand, you store your career materials in the cloud, then you have everything ready to go (give or take a couple of cover letter tweaks) and can respond to an interesting job listing as soon as you have a few minutes to yourself.

Preparing your career materials
We all know that you should tailor your resumé and cover letter to the position you want. Depending on how broad your job search is, that can mean focusing on different strengths.

For example, if you’re a PR professional, you might be interested in working for a start-up—but maybe you’d also consider a position with one of the country’s top PR agencies. To maximize the efficiency of using the cloud, prepare resumés and cover letters for each of the positions you’d consider. Remember: if something else comes along, you can always tweak your materials later.

Uploading your career materials to the cloud

You can use a cloud storage provider to simply store the documents. The best providers with free options are DropBoxGoogle Drive and OneDrive (free with Windows). From here, you can share your documents with others, or send them along as attachments to emails.

Redmond Salary Negotiation

Present your value.

Even if you’ve done you’re due diligence in researching salary levels for the position, you might not get what you’re worth unless you can prove that you’re worth it. “In serious salary negotiations, it is all about value proposition, If the company believes your value to be in multiples of your cost, you will have negotiating room. The higher your perceived value, the stronger your negotiating position.” If the employer doesn’t think you have greater than expected value, you will not negotiate more than a token handout.

To convince the hiring manager that your documented, numerical contributions far exceed your total financial package cost, he says you must describe the size of the problems you solve. “This is the heart of your ability to ask for more money. “They can hire anyone for routine tasks, but they mostly judge your value by the level of difficulty of problems you solve. They pay well for those who exceed expectations for performance.”

4 Things you need to know while searching for jobs in Seattle

  1. Find someone to refer you. You are missing out on job opportunities by not identifying someone inside the company to refer you for a job. While job boards are the primary source of hiring, 71 percent of HR professionals surveyed rated employee referrals as the best source for finding candidates, yet only 7 percent of job seekers surveyed viewed referrals as their top source for finding a job.
  2. Invest in learning technical skills. Job seekers self-reported that their top weakness was technical, computer or specialized skills. If this is your weak spot too, do something about it, because a quarter of employers rank these as top skills they are looking for. Take an online course to develop the skills you lack or need. More than 40 percent of job seekers have never invested in online training, but it is one way to improve your confidence and candidacy.
  3. Expect to meet several people during your interviews. It is unlikely you’ll be hired based on one interview. Almost 60 percent of HR professionals said the interview process involves meeting two to three people, and some employers will have you meet with as many as five people during the interview process.
  4.  Highlight these top three skill sets. Communication, adaptability and results-driven are the top skills HR is looking for in candidates. Unfortunately, job seekers miss the mark. While job seekers did list communication skills as a top skill set, they missed the mark in the other top skills they reported, which were leadership and teamwork.

5 Tips for a Successful Online Job Search

Before the rise of the Internet, the first place you would go to find out what jobs were available was your local newspaper’s classified ads. Now, of course, you can see all manner of jobs, from any kind of employer, with a simple search on job boards like Monster or aggregation sites, such as Indeed and SimplyHired. And, with some quick clicking, you can apply to scores of jobs in an evening.

Unfortunately, many people feel that this is the way you are supposed to conduct a job search to the exclusion of everything else. When you approach it this way, you are in for a long and frustrating experience with diminished chances for success.

Recently, a person complained that he’s been diligently applying to jobs on Indeed. He claimed to be selective and, over the last several months, sent out more than 80 applications. “So, what’s your response been to all this activity?” he was asked.

“Nada. Zilch. Zero … not a single interview,” he reported with a marked sense of exasperation.

People often don’t realize how great the odds are stacked against job seekers for virtually every online advertisement. Recruiters and human resources screeners commonly see hundreds upon hundreds of resumes submitted in response to ads. Of those, only a scant few will result in a conversation. Yet, on the employer side, it’s not uncommon to find someone to hire by placing an advertisement.

Put differently, you have only a small likelihood of success with any given response you make to an online job posting because each application is, statistically speaking, like flipping a coin. No matter how many jobs you apply to, you’ll still have the same odds – one in however many scores or hundreds of applicants reply.

At this point, you might throw up your hands in despair. Don’t. There are things that you can do to increase your odds of being chosen for a position that fits you well. Here are some strategies that are often most effective.

1. Take time to build your network, both in person and online. Attend networking events, participate in your professional organizations and introduce yourself to people. Practice the art of small talk. Understand that, with every new acquaintance you make, you enlarge your network.

2. Narrow your applications to a relatively few positions. Don’t bother with a lot of “Hail Marys” for which you clearly aren’t well suited to meet the employer’s needs. Instead, look for positions where you can add value to employers.

3. Do your research before you reach out to the employer. Check out the company in the news or on LinkedIn. Figure out its challenges, and how you can add value with your skills and experience. Use this research as you make your case for being considered in your cover letter.

4. Figure out how you can network your way into the company before you apply. You can use LinkedIn to find people in the company you can proactively reach out to for informational interviews. Don’t ask for help at the onset, but instead spend some time building a relationship and make yourself the first one to offer help before you ask for it.

5. Ask your contact if the company has an employee referral program. If so, would he be interested in forwarding your resume to the right person? Remember that, if you’ve already submitted your resume to the company, the employee won’t get credit for your application, and that makes a big difference.

Remember the old story of the tortoise and the hare. Slow but sure can win the race. The same is true with your job hunt. Go for fewer job applications, but do a thorough job of researching each and making a clear argument for how and why you can add value to the company. It’s tedious work, but in the end, your chances of success will skyrocket.

Happy hunting!

Personal SWOT Analysis for Bellevue Job Seekers

Many professionals recognize the value of a SWOT analysis for their companies. Understanding a business’ Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats gives leaders a new perspective on what the organization does well, where its challenges lie and which avenues to pursue. However, few people realize that a personal SWOT analysis can do the same for an individual in pursuit of his or her career goals.

The SWOT analysis was first devised as a business tool in the 1960s by business icons Edmund P. Learned, C. Roland Christensen, Kenneth Andrews and William D. Guth. In 1982, Heinz Weihrich took it one step further, constructing a 2-by-2 matrix to plot out the answers to the four key questions for easy comparison. Strengths and Weaknesses were across the top, and Opportunities and Threats in the bottom row. This remains the most common and effective way to conduct the analysis.

Most professionals look at their strengths and weaknesses, a SWOT analysis takes things a step further by forcing people to think about the external factors that bear heavily on the health and direction of their careers. Looking at the quadrants together can be a creative way to think about where you are in your career and the directions you could take,

SWOT can also help people become the best versions of themselves. Self-assessment is a key activity in striving to achieve a sense of one’s personal best. The SWOT analysis exercise ignites an enhanced awareness of what one brings to the table in a balanced light of both advantages and challenges. Organizations roll out elaborate schemes to remain competitive as well as innovative. Why wouldn’t individuals want to achieve the same level of excellence for themselves?”

To conduct a personal SWOT analysis, ask yourself questions about each of the four areas being examined. Answer honestly. Honesty is crucial, or the analysis will not generate meaningful results. With that in mind, try to see yourself from the standpoint of a colleague or a bystander, and view criticism with objectivity.

It’s also important to imagine the potential of what you can become,

“Don’t limit yourself to the strengths that you’re currently exhibiting in your job.  List all of your strengths, even the ones that have been dormant for a while. And pay particular attention to the things that you have that your peers don’t — how are you different, unique and special?”

Begin by identifying your strengths. These are the traits or skills that set you apart from others. Questions to ask include:

  • What are you good at naturally?
  • What skills have you worked to develop?
  • What are your talents, or natural-born gifts?
  • How strong is your network of connections?
  • What do other people see as your strengths?
  • What values and ethics set you apart from your peers?

The next step is weaknesses.This part examines the areas in which you need to improve and the things that will set you back in your career. Questions to consider include:

  • What are your negative work habits and traits?
  • Does any part of your education or training need improving?
  • What would other people see as your weaknesses?
  • Where can you improve?
  • What are you afraid to do or most likely to avoid?
  • What negative feedback about your personality or work habits have you received?

For the opportunities section, look at the external factors you can take advantage of to pursue a promotion, find a new job or determine a career direction. Questions to examine include:

  • What is the state of the economy?
  • Is your industry growing?
  • Is there new technology in your industry?
  • Is there new demand for a skill or trait you possess?
  • What are the biggest changes occurring in the current business environment?
  • Have customers or co-workers given you feedback about new services you could provide, or ways to improve your manner?

Finally, look at any threats to your career growth. This part takes into account the external factors that could hurt your chances to attain your goals. The factors to take into account include:

  • Is your industry contracting or changing directions?
  • Is there strong competition for the types of jobs for which you are best suited?
  • Do your weaknesses inhibit your ability to rise in your company or change jobs?
  • What is the biggest external danger to your goals?
  • Are there any new professional standards you cannot meet?
  • Are there any new technology, education or certification requirements that will impede your progress?

Finding the necessary objectivity to conduct a personal SWOT analysis can be a challenge. For this reason you are advised to invite others who know you well to review your ideas for accuracy. We often cannot see how we come across in our interactions with others, so their feedback is valuable.

In some cases, you may be well-served by getting the help of a professional. We encourage job seekers to work with professionals certified in various assessment instruments, or to research assessment tools online that can provided measured feedback for consideration.

Once you have filled out the matrix, there are two ways to analyze the information and build a strategy: matching or converting.

Matching means connecting two of the categories to determine a course of action. For example, matching strengths to opportunities shows you where to be aggressive and take action. On the other hand, matching weaknesses to threats exposes those areas you should work on or situations to avoid, and lets you know where to be more defensive of your position.

To convert is to turn negatives into positives — in other words, converting your weaknesses into strengths, or threats into opportunities. This can mean growing a skill set through education, or finding a creative way to feature a weakness as a strength. For instance, if you are very outgoing, working in an introspective and isolated environment may not suit you very well. But if you can work toward a position, such as sales, in which you interact with many people, that weakness turns into a strength and could allow you to excel.

Once your personal SWOT analysis is complete, it is crucial to follow through on the insights you uncovered.

SWOT analysis can fail to be effective if it is simply treated as a ‘laundry list,’ without any tie-in to how the elements identified in the analysis can be put into play for the individual carrying out the assessment. For example, how can the identified strengths move the needle in the endeavor to achieve a key goal? Or how can one navigate a potential threat once it is identified, so as to ensure no ground is lost?”

“The best outcome is to take action and succeed in the opportunities you have identified.  This can benefit you on a personal and professional level, and set you apart from your peers and colleagues.

Those who want to conduct their own SWOT analyses can visit numerous career sites providing online templates and further information:

Image Courtesy: http://www.chunkofchange.com/wp-content/uploads/swot-analysis_54534e77d19ce_w1500.jpg

Evolution is an necessary to upgrade your career.

Continue Learning and Training  

Once you know what you want to do, find out which credentials are either necessary or beneficial for your career evolution. While some positions might require credentials, others may consider certain certifications as a ‘Nice to Have’—which means you’ll get a leg up if you have it.

Continuing your training and education is paramount, especially in the tech industry. In fact, more than 55 percent of developers seek out training to meet current or upcoming needs or to advance their careers, according to the 2017 Developer Learning Survey. In this case, for example with a software engineer, it may be required that you have certain credentials thanks to the fast-evolving world of technology.

In other cases, like the example of moving from sales to marketing, a credential you likely don’t need is a Google Analytics Certification. However, it will look great on your resume and is free to take. Not to mention, knowing how to navigate Google Analytics is a skill most marketers need to have to be successful, whether you learn on the job or come into a new position with the knowledge already.

Just starting your career?

Set clear goals

The very first step is goal determination: What exactly does “career” mean for you? Is this associated with a certain amount of money? Do you want to reach a particular position?

Only when you have a clear idea of what it means for you to “make a career” can you also work towards this purpose. Many people do not take the time to become aware of their own career goals consciously and systematically. Do it! Write down for yourself what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it. Imagine what it will be like when you reach your destination. Work out a very concrete and detailed plan of action to get you where you want to go. Take your career goal actively in hand.

Become aware of what your career may cost

If you know what you want to achieve, you should also consider what you are willing to pay for it. Many people’s careers are at the cost of their relationship with their life partner, or they neglect their health, free time, and other things that make up their quality of life. But if you want to stay fit, you need to make sure you’re fine – physically, mentally and mentally. So you should be clear in advance about what you may and may not cost your career. Only then can you make appropriate decisions in your professional life. Sometimes a career leap is not worth it if you have to give too much of what is important to you.

Take your time to self-reflection

Time and time again to pause and think

  • what you do exactly
  • how useful that is,
  • whether it brings you to where you want to go and
  • maybe that will be easier too.

Especially when you are very eager to achieve a goal, in many cases takes over a kind of inner “autopilot” and controls our behavior. Such automatic ways of thinking and behaving should be discovered and questioned as soon as possible. Otherwise, you can easily find a way that does not take you where you want to go.