Thursday, December 8, 2016

6 Job Search Resolutions to Make Now

Many people want to lose weight, eat better, or improve their personal finances in the new year. But if you are a job seeker, consider resolutions that will shorten your job search and help you land a job that’s a great fit. Here are six job search resolutions to make and implement for a happy new year and a happy new job.

6 Job Search Resolutions to Make Now [Shy Job Seeker]
Make these six job search resolutions now for a better and faster job hunt.
  1.  I will define what I want to do. It is difficult to job hunt when you are open to anything. “I’ll do anything” is a death knell for your job search. Why? You waste huge amounts of time applying for jobs that don’t suit you. Employers will take one look at your application and keep going. They want workers who match their needs. So figure out what you are good at, what your skills are, and what you can bring to an organization. If you need help making this determination, use the tools at MyNextMove.
  2.  I will identify what is important to me in a job. Even when you know the type of job you’re seeking, it’s helpful to be aware of your career values so you can find the right opportunities and know whether to accept a job. Career values include issues like high pay, benefits, work environment, location, work schedule, physical activity, company size, amount of travel, independence, relationships, advancement potential, and much more. So make a list of the points that you know are important to you in a job, and use it to weigh potential jobs. For example, if you want a job within 10 miles of home with health insurance and no weekend hours, be sure to keep those points in mind so you don’t end up in a job that will make you unhappy.
  3.   I will not use online job applications as my sole job search method. Although many job openings are published online, remember that many people are applying for them. So to improve your chances, you must use other, more active job search techniques, such as networking and contacting employers who may need your skills, even if they haven’t advertised an opening. By using these informal job hunt methods, employers will get to know you and may hire you when an opening becomes available—without ever advertising.
  4.   I will let everyone know I am job searching. Never hesitate to let your family, friends, former colleagues, neighbors, and acquaintances know you are looking for work. They may know of someone who needs your skills and experience and may be willing to refer you to an employer. See my post, 50 Other Ways to Find Job Openings, for additional suggestions on tracking down job leads.
  5. I will identify and contact employers of interest. Who are your ideal employers? If you know which companies or types of organizations interest you, seek out someone who supervises your area of interest by searching online for a name or asking people in your network for a name. Then contact that person by email or phone and explain who you are and how you can help the organization. Often, you will make a good impression for being proactive. If you get rejected or are told that no openings are available, either move on or ask to be kept in mind for future positions.
  6.  I will tailor my resume and cover letter to fit the job. Writing resumes and cover letters is quite time consuming, but if you tailor your job search materials to the job opening, employers can more easily see why you are qualified and how you will help the organization succeed adn grow. Be sure to add keywords, which are the specific skills, training, and experience an employer wants and will be looking for in your resume. Customizing your job search correspondence will also help you stand out. For suggestions on how to customize your resume effectively (and quickly), see my post, Customize Your Resume in 15 Minutes. 
If you make—and keep—these six job search resolutions, it’s likely you will get the right job for you in the new year, and sooner rather than later.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Free Resource Helps Transitioning Service Members and Veterans Find Civilian Jobs

By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

In honor of all veterans this Veterans Day, I am highlighting a free U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) resource that helps military veterans find civilian jobs and that may be useful to other job seekers as well.

Transition from Military to Civilian Workforce Guide [Shy Job Seeker Blog]The resource is titled Transition from Military to Civilian Workforce Participant Guide.

It is a workbook that the USDOL Veterans’ Employment and Training Service uses in three-day workshops. The classes teach transitioning service members the job-search skills they need to land civilian employment today.

Topics in the workbook include identifying work skills and values, using social media in the job hunt, writing a resume and cover letter, finding opportunities, networking, contacting employers, interviewing, following up, and negotiating a salary. The resource covers the unique situation of veterans, such as understanding the difference between military and civilian work environments and transferring a military background to a civilian workplace.

Even if you are not a veteran, I suggest you take a look at the guide. Although much of the tool is focused on veterans, you may find just the help you need to move your job search forward.

You can find the workbook here or as an eBook on Amazon.

Thank you to all transitioning service members and military veterans for their service!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Don’t Ask These 5 Questions in Job Interviews

It is important to ask questions when you are being interviewed for a job. Thoughtful questions show interest and curiosity. They reflect a desire to learn about the opportunity, the employer’s expectations, the organization’s future, and how you can help the company grow.

Don't Ask These 5 Job Interview Questions [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Avoid asking these five questions
during job interviews.
But asking an interviewer the following five job interview questions will hurt your chances of getting hired. In fact, these questions may take you out of the running completely. Why? The five questions show a lack of preparation for the job interview, lack of concern for the employer’s needs, more interest in being away from the job than on the job, concern for money rather than the work, or a desire to work the minimum. 
  1. What do you do here? This question shows you didn’t prepare for the job interview. Don’t ask questions about points you can learn from the organization’s website. Also review the company's marketing, social media, annual report, product information, and anything else you can dig up. This information will help you understand the organization's purpose and direction and how you can help it prosper.
  2. What is the salary? This question is valid, but asking it early in the hiring process shows you are more concerned with money than with the job. Instead of asking about pay, ask about the employer’s needs and challenges and explain how you can meet them. Wait until the employer offers you the job and states the salary before discussing money. At that point, the employer wants you and may be open to negotiating and giving you a higher amount. Also, if you bring up your salary requirements too early, you may lock yourself into a lower amount than the employer was willing to pay.
  3. How much vacation do I get? This question shows you are already thinking about time off before you’ve been offered the job. Again, wait until you get a job offer before asking this question, although most employers will tell you about vacation time when extending a job offer.
  4. Can I have flexible hours? Although more companies offer flexible hours today, don’t raise this question. Most employers need you to be at work and working hard. After you are hired and prove yourself, your manager may be open to considering flexible hours.
  5. Can I work from home? This question is similar to the preceding one. The employer doesn’t know you well, so he or she has no idea whether you will work diligently from home. Wait until the employer brings it up or until after you get the job, have proven your work ethic, and know the job's demand.

Although you will have legitimate employment questions like the ones listed here, avoid asking them in job interviews. You want to show employers that you have their needs and interests foremost in your mind. Focus on getting a job offer first. Then you can address these issues, either as part of your salary and benefits negotiation or after you're doing the job well.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

10 Traits of a Job Search Slacker

Some job seekers just can’t seem to get hired. Sure, they are applying for jobs. But employers aren’t contacting them. Could it be these job hunters aren’t putting much effort into their employment search?

10 Signs of a Job Search Slacker [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Job search slackers put little time into the job hunt.

Here are 10 traits of a job search slacker:
  1. Cannot articulate his or her skills and how they would benefit employers
  2. Applies for one or two jobs and calls it a week (or a month)
  3. Applies for any job, even if it doesn’t fit his or her experience and skills
  4. Applies only for jobs that are advertised instead of reaching out to employers who may need workers with his or her background and abilities
  5. Uses the same resume and cover letter for every job application instead of tailoring these materials to an employer’s needs
  6. Does not follow up on job applications and job leads
  7. Does not contact family, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances who may know of job openings
  8. Does not research employers who are growing and hiring
  9. Makes no attempt to improve his or her job search by learning about the most-effective, active job hunt techniques
  10. Has no enthusiasm for the job search

Job search slackers eventually may find work, but it will take them a long time. In addition, the jobs most likely won’t be a great fit.

If some of the 10 traits describe you, consider changing your job search today. Just reverse course on a couple of points above, and you will see your job hunt improve. Get going now!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Encouraging Kids in Career Exploration

By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

Encourage Kids in Career Exploration [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
This Bureau of Labor Statistics website helps
 kids explore career interests and options.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut or a writer. I enjoyed writing. I spent hours in my bedroom with a legal pad and pen, writing in longhand everything from poems to school reports. When I was in 8th grade, I received encouragement from my teacher to keep writing. I put my astronaut musings aside when I realized they weren’t compatible with my motion sickness. In high school, I worked on the school newspaper. I continued to get guidance and positive comments on my writing.

When I went to college, my choice of a major was easy because my career choice was already clear. My first job after college and every job after it had writing at its core. My career path was built on the encouragement I received from one person when I was 13 to keep writing.

If you have children and teens in your life, consider how you may be able to inspire their career interests, exploration, and development. You don’t have to be a teacher or career coach—just someone who listens and cares.

One way to get kids interested in the giant world of career choices is to refer them to a U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics website with career videos, interactive career games, and career exploration tools. Also please see my Shy Job Seeker post, Letter to Shy Young Person in Search of a Calling.

Whenever I have the opportunity, I encourage kids, teens, and young adults in their career interests and career exploration. I ask questions, listen, suggest career ideas, find resources for them to review, and most of all praise their desire to find a fitting career path for now, knowing it may well change later. Perhaps I can pay it forward and be the person who guides them to a satisfying career path.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

5 Reasons Why You Need a Job Search Support System

Job searching can be a lonely process, even for shy and introverted people who may prefer their own company. Going it alone--without the emotional support of family, friends, and others close to you--can result in a downward spin of discouragement. Don’t fear of asking people for help and encouragement as you job hunt. Most individuals will provide emotional support happily and eagerly.

5 Reasons Why You Need a Job Search Support System [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Get a listening ear during your
job search.
So during your job search, I suggest you reach out to people you like and trust. Here are five reasons to have a support system during your employment search:
  1. Helps you deal with rejection. The job search process is full of rejection. Your support system can remind you not to take it personally.
  2. Gives insight into yourself. Your support system can help you see your strengths and weak spots honestly.
  3. Provides a listening ear. People who love you are willing to lend a listening ear when you need to talk about your goals, your progress, and your frustrations.
  4. Offers encouragement. A support system will encourage and inspire you to keep going in your job hunt.
  5. Helps you soldier on. When you feeling like giving up, those who are close to you will offer a hug, affirm your worth, and bolster your efforts to find a job.
So please don’t be tempted to go it alone in your job search. Lean on your support system. You’ll also have people to celebrate with when you get hired.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Good News, Job Seekers: You No Longer Have to Network

Networking ranks with public speaking as something introverted and shy people desperately want to avoid. During a job search, however, networking is the best way to get hired. As I’ve said previously in the Shy Job Seeker Blog, employers don’t like the hiring process any more than job hunters do. Most employers would rather hire people they know and people who are recommended or referred to them. So making human contact, as painful as it is for introverts, is a key way to find your ideal job.

I recently attended a presentation by Bill Baldus, Career Center Director for Metropolitan State University, at the National Career Development Association (NCDA) Annual Conference. Because many people are intimidated by or have an aversion to the word networking, he discussed whether it should be called something else, such as connecting or reaching out.

I recommend the 365 Days of Networking Blog to job seekers. [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
I recommend the 365 Days of Networking blog to all job seekers.

It’s an interesting idea: Does using a word other than networking make the action and process more palatable to and doable for introverted, shy, and scared job seekers? My first reaction was no. Introverts dread approaching someone they don’t know, especially with a purpose or goal in mind.

But the more I thought about it, the more I warmed up to the idea. Perhaps an introverted job seeker just needs to say hello, introduce himself or herself, ask a question about what brings someone to a gathering, and ask for a bit of career or job-search advice. Perhaps if the stakes are made less important—all I need to do is say hello and introduce myself to two people, for example—it is easier to take action. If all an introverted job seeker needs to do is make a connection or two today, and another connection or two in a few days, networking becomes less stomach churning.

Of course, no matter what you call it, making contact with other people during your job hunt is necessary. But look at it this way: If you can tell yourself to make one contact today and another one tomorrow, you will most likely hit pay dirt soon and shorten your job search. You will also meet some nice people who are happy to help you in your effort to get hired.

Bill Baldus has been making one networking contact every single day for 365 days “to demystify this all-important skill and make it doable by illustrating ways it has actually worked for people.” He is writing about his experiences in the 365 Days of Networking blog. Check it out and let me know if it helps in your job search.

Monday, August 1, 2016

10 Ways to Guard Your Health After Job Loss

When you are laid off or fired, your physical and emotional health may be at risk. Many studies have confirmed this fact. In addition, I have observed how layoffs and job loss have negatively affected the health of family, friends, and colleagues. 

Common emotional reactions to job loss include anger, shock, grief, embarrassment, stress, helplessness, confusion, fear, anxiety, sadness, negativity, insecurity, irritability, hopelessness, loss of identity, boredom, and loneliness. Physical reactions may involve weight change, sleeplessness, low energy, high blood pressure, and a disheveled appearance. Plus, it's easy to develop bad habits like napping all day when you don't have the daily structure and responsibilities of a job.

So when you are unemployed, you must make staying healthy a conscious priority. Here are some suggestions.

Guard Your Health After Job Loss [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Take care of your health,
 especially when unemployed.

  1. Exercise to relieve stress and enhance your overall health. Be sure to get physical exercise most days, if not every day. After all, you now have the time. Lack of time is a big reason many people don’t exercise. You don’t have to spend money on a pricey gym membership. Walk, hike, run, do yoga, and bike ride. Get fresh air to clear your head. Look for free fitness programs and classes at your local park. Do a variety of physical activities to keep boredom away. You will feel better, look better, sleep better, and be less prone to depression. You will improve your weight, blood pressure, and other health metrics.
  2.  Eat right to stay or get healthy during unemployment. Sign up for a free website or app that helps you track calories and physical activity. Stay away from fast food and restaurant meals, which are costly in terms of calories and cash. Avoid the temptation to snack mindlessly because you are home. Learn to cook if you don’t know how; it will pay off in many healthy ways because you can control the ingredients, including salt, sugar, and fat. Plant a garden for the freshest vegetables.
  3. Keep a stable sleep schedule to stay in balance. Without a work schedule, it’s easy to stay up late and sleep late. You may find yourself napping or nodding off in the middle of the day. So I suggest that you strive to keep a sleep schedule similar to one you had while working. It’s healthier and will keep you bright-eyed and energetic during the prime job-searching part of the day. Don’t be caught sleeping while others are getting job interviews and getting hired.
  4. Spend time on your appearance. Shower, get dressed, and do basic grooming every day. Get haircuts regularly. Not only will you look and feel better, you'll also be ready for job hunting.
  5. Get out of the house. Sitting alone at a computer all day gets most unemployed people down. So meet with friends, take a walk, go to the library, attend networking events, and find job search events.
  6. Avoid substances like drugs and too much alcohol. You may enjoy a temporary relief from stress and worry with one more drink. But becoming dependent on any substance will lead to nothing but trouble. Find other ways to relieve your anxiety or boredom.             
  7. Seek the company of people who are positive and encouraging. Don’t be embarrassed or withdraw from people, especially family and friends, when you lose your job. Many people have experienced the same loss and pain. You will likely hear sympathy and supportive words when you share about your unemployment. You may even get job leads. Talk often with those closest to you and ask for their love, understanding, and support. Honestly share your anger, fears, concerns, and thoughts about the future. Let your job loss make you all closer.
  8.  Take action to avoid depression, boredom, and hopelessness. I recommend you create an active daily job search plan that includes networking with others, participating in a job club, contacting employers, and getting free resume and job hunt help at your local American Job Center. Avoid sitting at the computer all day to increase your chances of finding a good job. Also consider learning a new skill, taking a class, volunteering in your community, or helping a neighbor.
  9. Reflect on your feelings and your future. Any life change and transition can be difficult. But change also can open your eyes and open doors. So regularly set aside time to think about how you are progressing, where you want to go, what you need to do, what you need to change, and how you are feeling. If it helps, consider meditating or journaling.
  10. Promise to stay positive. A negative attitude may be understandable given your situation, but it won’t get you anywhere in the long run. Know that it may take time to work through your emotions, but promise yourself that you will stay positive and keep moving forward. You owe yourself nothing less.
After losing a job, you need to guard your physical and emotional health, which are tied together. By taking care of yourself after a job loss, you will give yourself something to control and will help yourself move forward. I hope the suggestions above will keep you healthy in mind and body and ready for any opportunity.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Don’t Be Willing to Do Anything

As a job seeker, have you made any of the following statements?
  • “I’ll do anything.” 
  • “I’ll take any job.” 
  • “I’m keeping my options open.”
To many people, these statements sound like positive ones, especially if made to potential employers. Right? After all, who wouldn’t want an employee who is willing to do anything?
Don't Be Willing to Do Anything [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Do you have a sharp career focus?

Well, the truth is, most organizations hire workers who can zero in and solve their problems, needs, and challenges. They want employees who can help them prosper, innovate, and grow. 

In employers’ minds, the person who will take any job lacks focus, self-direction, self-knowledge, and creativity. He or she sounds wishy-washy and desperate. Chances are good that such an individual will wait for direction if hired. And most employers don’t have the time, staff, or desire to give that direction. That’s what they want you for.

So determine what you’re good at, what you can solve and contribute, and how you can help companies succeed, stand out, and excel. If you need help in figuring this out, start with My Next Move and mySkillsmyFuture from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Don’t be amorphous in your career. Be a laser. Be a star.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

5 Signs You’re a Passive Job Seeker

5 Signs You're a Passive Job Seeker [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Are you a passive job hunter? Read this post to find out.

Are you having trouble finding a good job? Do you apply for dozens of jobs online and hear nothing back? Do you have little person-to-person contact in your job search? Is your job search dragging on? 

If so, you may be a passive job seeker. You may feel as if you are actively looking for work. But in reality, you are not taking the right actions to get hired.

Here are five signs that you are passive in your job hunt:

  1. Applying for job after job online is your sole job-search method. Online job applications are a key method for applying for jobs. Some companies accept only online applications and do not want you to call or stop by. But online job applications have pitfalls. First, if your skills and experience do not match the job opening, your application may be automatically rejected. Second, if you are applying for many jobs, chances are you are casting too wide a net and are not qualified for all of those jobs. Third, you are missing opportunities to job search in more effective ways, such as networking with people who can connect you with hiring managers or who know of job openings before they are advertised.
  2. Not tailoring your cover letter and resume to each job. Using the same cover letter and same resume for each job opening is easy; it is also passive. Instead, take a few minutes to make sure your job-search materials match the job opening by moving around and adding information about the parts of your background that especially fit the job. This approach will make it easier for employers to see how you fit their needs. Learn more in my post, "Customize Your Resume in 15 Minutes."
  3. Not networking or talking with potential employers. People hire people, so you want to talk with everyone you know who may have connections to help you get in front of employers. Attend professional events, connect with colleagues on social media, and let people know about your job search. For example, at a recent business conference, I saw several job postings on a bulletin board--yes, a physical bulletin board. Consider contacting employers of interest directly, especially smaller employers who may need to hire but do not have HR staffs or technological hiring systems in place. These employers want to find good workers do not have much time or many resources to do so. You will face less competition and may be just what a small employer requires.
  4. Spending just a few hours a week--or less--on your job search. If you are not working now, job searching should be your full-time occupation. Create a schedule of your job-search activities, including applying for jobs, networking, contacting possible employers even if jobs aren’t advertised, researching companies and employers that are growing, and practicing your interview skills.
  5. Not following up on job leads or job applications. Employers often receive many applications for advertised jobs. Following up on your job applications will help you stand out. Look online or call the organization directly to learn the name of the hiring manager if possible. Then send an email or call the person and let him or her know of your interest. If you don't hear back, contact the person again in 7 to 10 days. Be enthusiastic and persistent but not a pest. Or if someone suggests a possible job lead, be sure to follow up even if it seems like a long shot. You never know where your next opportunity will come from.

You may be a passive job hunter now, but the good news is, you can become more active in your search for employment. With an active job hunt, you’ll be more likely to get hired quickly in the right job.

Image courtesy of EA at

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

CareerOneStop: Your Source for Career Exploration, Training, and Jobs

CareerOneStop, a popular and free site sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, has a new look and design that makes it easier than ever to use. The site describes itself as "your source for career exploration, training, and jobs."

CareerOneStop: Your Source for Career Exploration, Training, and Jobs [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
The redesigned CareerOneStop site is easy to use and very helpful.

CareerOneStop gives information and links on job openings, pay, job searching, job skills, education, training, and more. On many parts of the site, you can drill down to find facts specific to your town or city, such as wages and the projected number of openings for specific jobs.

The home page offers the following clear choices:
  • Explore careers
  • Find training
  • Job search
  • Find local help
Plus, a “toolkit” link unfurls with many career, job search, and training topics.

You can also click on the following categories to get information specific to your needs:
  • Career changer
  • Entry-level worker
  • Laid-off worker
  • Young adult
  • Veteran
  • Older worker
  • Credential seeker
  • Worker with a criminal conviction
  • Workers with disabilities
For quick reference, the home page highlights the site’s top career videos, top questions, top pages, top news, and Facebook and Twitter feeds.

That's not all: CareerOneStop Mobile is available as a free app for Apple and Android devices.

CareerOneStop is a great resource for anyone looking for a job, making a career choice or change, or weighing education and training options. Spend some time on the site, and you’re sure to find helpful insights, data, and tools that will make a difference for your job search and your future.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

5 Ways to Productively Use Time After Job Loss

5 Ways to Productively Use Time After Job Loss [Shy Job Seeker Blog]

After losing a job, you go from working full-time to having hours to fill. Without forethought and planning, you may end up wasting all that valuable time. Instead, fill your days with activity that will help you find a new job, advance your career, and improve your future. Productivity also will help minimize the anxiety, depression, and anger that can accompany job loss.

You no longer have a boss to direct your day, so you need to become your own boss. Here are 5 specific ways to productively use your time after losing a job, whether through a layoff, firing, relocation, or for another reason.
  1. Vow to be active: The most important thing you can do when becoming unemployed is to promise yourself to stay active and not waste time on passive activities, no matter how long it takes to find a new job. So plan each day, get up early, and get dressed. Create a schedule—on paper or electronically—that focuses on the activities described in this post. Job hunting should take most of your day, as I explain next, but you’ll still have hours to fill without commuting, business lunches and breaks, and water-cooler chat. Avoid too much TV. Don’t get pulled into online games and mindless web surfing. 
  2. Focus on job hunting: I suggest you concentrate most of your time on job searching. It may take longer to find work than you think it will, so get started immediately. Be sure to apply for unemployment insurance, even if you are not sure you are eligible. Check with your local Career One-Stop (which may go by a different name in your area) for free resume and job search assistance, job clubs, career assessments, and other assistance. Ask the Career One-Stop whether you are eligible for free career training, courtesy of Uncle Sam. Enhance your presence on LinkedIn and network to find job opportunities. Let everyone you know that you are looking for work. Develop an elevator speech that summarizes your career interests and experience. Research potential employers. Practice your interview skills. Contact employers of interest, even if they aren’t advertising for help, and present your skills and experience to them. 
  3. Envision your future: Consider your future career and personal life. What have you always wanted to do? Where would you like to live? What would you like to accomplish? Jot down all the possibilities. Let this process extend over days and weeks. Keep adding to your notes, and perhaps a picture will come into focus. Set short-term and long-term goals for your career and life, even if they may change in the future.
  4. Learn all you can: Learning keeps your brain active and develops new skills that can help your future career. So read, practice, take free or low-cost workshops and classes, visit the library, watch documentaries and how-to videos, attend professional events, listen to podcasts, and teach yourself. Focus on honing skills that can help you on the job, such as writing, leadership, public speaking, and technology skills.
  5. Volunteer and get involved: Getting involved in your industry and community will connect you to people, help you use and develop skills, provide new experiences for your resume, and get you out of the house. If you’ve always wanted to volunteer for a group or organization, this is an ideal opportunity to do so.
When you lose a job, you gain time—lots of it. Become wisely productive during your unemployment, and your future eventually will be much brighter.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

10 Ways to Soothe Job Interview Jitters

By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

10 Ways to Soothe Job Interview Jitters [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Are you biting your nails before job interviews?
In-person job interviews are the most important part of the hiring process. It’s where you meet interviewers face-to-face and present yourself as a potential employee. How you look and act, what you say and how you say it, will be used to determine whether you are right for the job.

With so much at stake, it’s no wonder that many job candidates get nervous before job interviews. Although some anxiety is good because it can help you be alert, too much fretting and worry can hurt your appearance and presentation. 

Here are 10 ways to soothe job interview stress:

  1. Make time to plan and prepare. Nothing can make you feel more at ease than good preparation before a job interview. Whether your job interview is tomorrow morning or two weeks away, take the time to get ready. Set aside an hour or two to plan your clothing, gather your materials, research the organization, write down questions, rehearse interview answers, and do other preparation as detailed in the rest of this post.
  2. Do research. Learn as much about the organization as you can. Look at its website, products, marketing, news articles, annual reports, blog, and social media. Also learn about your interviewer or interviewers via LinkedIn, blogs, and the organization’s website. The worst question to ask in a job interview is “What do you do here?” Have good knowledge about the organization so you can ask informed questions about its future and explain how you fit in and can help.
  3. Look good. Dress up for the job interview, even if you won’t need to dress as well on the job itself. Steer toward practical, clean, and conservative clothes, jewelry, accessories, and grooming. Most employers are traditional, so you won’t go wrong with a traditional appearance at the job interview. For creative jobs and employers, you may be able to show artistry and individuality with a bit of color or one bright, attractive accessory, but avoid overdoing it. 
  4. Rehearse your answers to common and odd job interview questions. Why do you want to leave your current job? Why do you want to work here? Tell us about a time when you faced a work dilemma and how you handled it. If you could be any animal, what would it be? What are your favorite books and movies? What are your salary requirements? What is your long-term career plan? Be prepared for any and all questions, from serious to wacky. Chances are good that you will be thrown a question curve. For such questions, try to understand what the interviewer is really asking and mention your key job skills or strong personal traits in your answer. 
  5. Take the right tools. I have interviewed people who came to interviews empty-handed or juggling a phone, a big cup of coffee, keys, shopping bags, and even kids. Instead, bring a notebook, pens, extra resumes, a list of references, portfolio items if appropriate, and questions you want to ask. Put everything in a folder or professional-looking bag to keep your hands as free as possible to open doors and shake hands.
  6. Write down questions to ask. Be prepared to ask about your potential job, daily tasks, challenges, what the employer is looking for, and how you can most help. Not asking questions has always seemed lazy to me. Show you are engaged and interested enough to ask questions.
  7. List the points you want to make. You want to stand out in job interviews, so be sure to emphasize the key experience, background, education, and skills that make you right for the job. Jot them down so you will remember to stress these points to interviewers. If you fear getting tongue-tied in the interview, this list will be especially helpful.
  8. Arrive early. Plan to arrive early for the job interview. Know exactly where you need to go, including the building and office number. Allow time for traffic, parking, public transportation problems, building security, weather issues, slow elevators, and a restroom stop. It is not good to call a potential employer and say you are running late, because organizations want workers who show up on time. Being late is a sure way to increase your jitters.
  9. Try to relax.Take deep breaths, walk around the block, reassure yourself that you are prepared. Do whatever it takes to calm down your racing heart and enter the interview as a confident, self-assured professional.
  10. Smile and be friendly. Although you may be feeling nervous and want to withdraw, remember to smile, say hello to everyone, shake hands, and engage in small talk. Turn off your phone and put it away. You want to create a good first impression, and such actions go a long way in making you look like a potential fit. 

Anything can happen in job interviews, but with preparation and planning, you can tamp down much of the nervousness and anxiety that can hinder your success. 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Is Your Career Evolving?

Change is constant in the workplace. Co-workers and managers come and go. Business ebbs and flows. Technology, products, and services become obsolete and get introduced. Methods, rules, and procedures are modified. Companies start and move, are bought and sold, die out and pivot. Organizations are always evolving, sometimes by design and sometimes not.
Is Your Career Evolving? [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Always be learning, growing, and changing in your career.

When change happens at work, you often have the opportunity to enlarge your competencies. You need to learn, adapt, and be open to the possibilities. If you resist change, complain about it, or try to get others to do tasks you don’t want to learn, you hold back your organization and yourself. When workplace changes are small, usually you can flex and learn as you go. Other times you may need to work with uncertainty and do the best you can. For some changes, your organization may provide training and guidance. 

When you change and learn, not only are you growing, you also will have new accomplishments for your resume and new skills and insights that may lead to a better job fit, more satisfaction, more responsibility, a leadership role, a promotion, a higher salary, a new job, a relocation, new relationships, more creativity, a new discovery, more education, more self-esteem, or a new career path.

So even in a slow-changing company or a routine job, you should always be developing and flourishing. I call this career evolution. Ask yourself, “Do I want to be doing this same work in the same place two, five, ten, or twenty years from now?” If the answer is no, ask yourself, “Why not?” One thing is certain: If you are not evolving in your career, you may go the way of the dinosaur or be an unhappy endangered species.

Make career evolution part of your daily life. With ongoing career evolution, you can avoid getting stuck in a dead-end job or getting pushed on a career path that doesn’t interest you. You don’t want to look back and say, “If only I’d gone to school…changed careers…learned new skills…explored my interests...quit a certain company…applied for a promotion…took a chance on a new job…started my own business.”

So begin taking control of your career evolution: Be eager and positive when changes occur. Do a task no one wants. Offer to help a co-worker or the boss. Get trained as a backup for someone with a key job. Propose suggestions to improve your workplace, products, services, or customer relationships. Keep up on business news, especially in your field and industry. Learn more about your job and where its career path could take you. Get involved in your field through a professional association, networking, and conferences. Take workshops and classes. Read books and periodicals. Say yes to opportunities and challenges. Don’t become extinct or regretful.

Evolution doesn’t happen overnight. Your career evolution can last a lifetime. It’s a mindset to always be learning, growing, and changing. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Going Green for Your Career

Happy Earth Day! The animation above was assembled from 13 images acquired on March 9, 2016, by NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera, a four-megapixel charge-coupled device and Cassegrain telescope on the DSCOVR satellite.

It’s Earth Day soon, and many people are interested in green careers. 

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Information Network (O*NET) database defines “green new and emerging occupations” as follows:

“The impact of green economy activities and technologies is sufficient to create the need for unique work and worker requirements, which results in the generation of a new occupation...This new occupation could be entirely novel or ‘born’ from an existing occupation.”

This is the long way of saying that our economy is creating new green jobs.

Green Economy Sectors

In addition, the U.S. Department of Labor categorizes these occupations by “green economy sectors” defined as follows:
  • Agriculture and Forestry: Covers activities related to using natural pesticides, efficient land management or farming, and aquaculture.
  • Energy and Carbon Capture and Storage: Covers activities related to capturing and storing energy and/or carbon emissions, as well as technologies related to power plants using the integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) technique.
  • Energy Efficiency: Covers activities related to increasing energy efficiency (broadly defined), making energy demand response more effective, constructing smart grids, and other energy-efficient activities.
  • Energy Trading: Covers financial services related to buying and selling energy as an economic commodity, as well as carbon-trading projects.
  • Environment Protection: Covers activities related to environmental remediation, climate change adaptation, and ensuring or enhancing air quality.
  • Governmental and Regulatory Administration: Covers activities by public and private organizations associated with conservation and pollution prevention, regulation enforcement, and policy analysis and advocacy.
  • Green Construction: Covers activities related to constructing new green buildings, retrofitting residential and commercial buildings, and installing other green construction technology.
  • Manufacturing: Covers activities related to industrial manufacturing of green technology as well as energy-efficient manufacturing processes.
  • Recycling and Waste Reduction: Covers activities related to solid waste and wastewater management, treatment, and reduction, as well as processing recyclable materials.
  • Renewable Energy Generation: Covers activities related to developing and using energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass. This sector also includes traditional, nonrenewable sources of energy undergoing significant green technological changes (e.g., oil, coal, gas, and nuclear).
  • Research, Design, and Consulting Services: This sector encompasses indirect jobs to the green economy, such as energy consulting and research and other related business services.
  • Transportation: Covers activities related to increasing efficiency and/or reducing environmental impact of various modes of transportation, including trucking, mass transit, and freight rail.

New and Emerging Green Occupations

Here is a list of new and emerging green occupations and their related sectors:

Biochemical Engineers
Manufacturing; Research, Design, and Consulting Services
Biofuels Processing Technicians
Renewable Energy Generation
Biofuels Production Managers
Renewable Energy Generation
Biofuels/Biodiesel Technology and Product Development Managers
Renewable Energy Generation
Biomass Plant Technicians
Renewable Energy Generation
Biomass Power Plant Managers
Renewable Energy Generation
Brownfield Redevelopment Specialists and Site Managers
Environment Protection
Chief Sustainability Officers
Governmental and Regulatory Administration
Climate Change Analysts
Environment Protection
Compliance Managers
Governmental and Regulatory Administration
Electrical Engineering Technologists
Manufacturing; Research, Design, and Consulting Services
Electromechanical Engineering Technologists
Manufacturing; Research, Design, and Consulting Services
Electronics Engineering Technologists
Manufacturing; Research, Design, and Consulting Services
Energy Auditors
Energy Efficiency; Governmental and Regulatory Administration
Energy Brokers
Energy Trading
Energy Engineers
Energy Efficiency; Green Construction; Research, Design, and Consulting Services
Environmental Economists
Environment Protection
Environmental Restoration Planners
Environment Protection
Fuel Cell Engineers
Research, Design, and Consulting Services; Transportation
Fuel Cell Technicians
Geospatial Information Scientists and Technologists
Research, Design, and Consulting Services
Geothermal Production Managers
Renewable Energy Generation
Geothermal Technicians
Renewable Energy Generation
Green Marketers
Research, Design, and Consulting Services
Hydroelectric Plant Technicians
Renewable Energy Generation
Hydroelectric Production Managers
Renewable Energy Generation
Industrial Ecologists
Environment Protection
Industrial Engineering Technologists
Manufacturing; Research, Design, and Consulting Services
Investment Underwriters
Energy Trading; Research, Design, and Consulting Services
Logistics Analysts
Manufacturing; Research, Design, and Consulting Services; Transportation
Manufacturing Engineering Technologists
Manufacturing; Research, Design, and Consulting Services
Manufacturing Engineers
Manufacturing; Research, Design, and Consulting Services
Manufacturing Production Technicians
Manufacturing; Research, Design, and Consulting Services
Mechanical Engineering Technologists
Manufacturing; Research, Design, and Consulting Services
Mechatronics Engineers
Manufacturing; Research, Design, and Consulting Services
Methane/Landfill Gas Collection System Operators
Renewable Energy Generation
Methane/Landfill Gas Generation System Technicians
Renewable Energy Generation
Microsystems Engineers
Manufacturing; Research, Design, and Consulting Services
Nanosystems Engineers
Manufacturing; Research, Design, and Consulting Services
Nanotechnology Engineering Technicians
Nanotechnology Engineering Technologists
Manufacturing; Research, Design, and Consulting Services
Photonics Engineers
Manufacturing; Research, Design, and Consulting Services
Photonics Technicians
Manufacturing; Research, Design, and Consulting Services
Precision Agriculture Technicians
Agriculture and Forestry; Research, Design, and Consulting Services
Recycling and Reclamation Workers
Recycling and Waste Reduction
Recycling Coordinators
Recycling and Waste Reduction
Regulatory Affairs Managers
Governmental and Regulatory Administration
Regulatory Affairs Specialists
Governmental and Regulatory Administration
Remote Sensing Scientists and Technologists
Research, Design, and Consulting Services
Remote Sensing Technicians
Research, Design, and Consulting Services
Risk Management Specialists
Research, Design, and Consulting Services
Robotics Engineers
Manufacturing; Research, Design, and Consulting Services
Robotics Technicians
Manufacturing; Research, Design, and Consulting Services
Solar Energy Installation Managers
Renewable Energy Generation
Solar Energy Systems Engineers
Renewable Energy Generation
Solar Photovoltaic Installers
Renewable Energy Generation
Solar Sales Representatives and Assessors
Renewable Energy Generation
Solar Thermal Installers and Technicians
Renewable Energy Generation
Sustainability Specialists
Governmental and Regulatory Administration
Transportation Engineers
Research, Design, and Consulting Services; Transportation
Transportation Planners
Governmental and Regulatory Administration; Research, Design, and Consulting Services; Transportation
Validation Engineers
Manufacturing; Research, Design, and Consulting Services
Water Resource Specialists
Environment Protection
Water/Wastewater Engineers
Environment Protection
Weatherization Installers and Technicians
Energy Efficiency
Wind Energy Engineers
Renewable Energy Generation
Wind Energy Operations Managers
Renewable Energy Generation
Wind Energy Project Managers
Renewable Energy Generation
Wind Turbine Service Technicians
Renewable Energy Generation

That’s quite a list. Learn more about these and other green occupations, including their job descriptions and required education/training. You may discover a great, green fit for your future career.

Happy Earth Day!  #EarthDayEveryDay