Creative Compensation Suggestions: Five Things to Negotiate for Compensation

Five Things to Negotiate for Creative Compensation

Salary can be a tricky thing to negotiate. When walking into a new job, or even re-evaluating your current contract with a company, an increase in salary may not be an option. However, there are several things you could request in place of a raise. It never hurts to ask and the worst thing your employer can say is ‘no.’

Reimbursements

Daycare

Paying someone to take care of your child while you work is not inexpensive. Ask about what childcare options your company offers. Some of the time there will be an on-site facility or an allotted amount that employees with young children have access to. If those aren’t already in place, make the request for company reimbursement for at least a partial amount of your daycare costs.

Five Things to Negotiate for Creative Compensation Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Five Things to Negotiate for Creative Compensation
Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Transportation

Commuting can be expensive. Some companies already pay for business travel so this may not be something you can add to your compensation. However, day-to-day travel is probably not part of that agreement. To inquire about this, you should calculate your monthly travel expenses and propose a stipend that will ease the expense.

Tuition

Not everyone starts a job with multiple degrees already under their belt. You should feel comfortable asking about reimbursement for bettering your education. Not only will you gain the knowledge, but your company will be making an investment in you. The education could be things as small as workshops and seminars, but as large as an associate, bachelor, or master degrees. Education equals career enhancement. Many companies already have these programs in place and if your company does not already offer this, sell it to them.

 A New Title

‘Secretary’ is just a general title for someone who does all the administrative work in the office. In this example, ‘administrative/corporate executive assistant’ says more about what you do as a ‘secretary.’ Asking for a title that accurately reflects your work will help you feel more content in your current position, but will also display your talents when you are looking for another position in the future.

Flexible Schedule

This is a great thing to ask for as far as a non-salary related perk is concerned. If you’re a morning person, you could negotiate to work from 7:00AM – 3:00PM instead of the typical 9:00AM – 5:00PM. You can also look into telecommuting as an option. It probably won’t work out so that you work full-time from home, but part-time telecommuting can cut down on your drive time and your travel spending. Hopefully, that balance – having a more relaxed schedule and not commuting every single day – will make up for the lack in increased salary.

Guaranteed Severance Package

There is no guarantee that the job you currently have or are being hired for will still exist a year or several years from now. Establishing a severance package in your contract will add extra security should the company go out of business. With this severance package, you company will think twice about the possibility of laying you off or removing your position.

More Vacation Time

Whatever vacation time the company offers, you can ask for things that will sweeten the deal. One thing to address, if you don’t have it already, is paid vacation time. You could also see if the vacation time can be doubled. Having more vacation days, whether you take days to rest at home or travel to relax on a beach, could be worth not having a higher salary.

You will never know the answer if you don’t ask and again, the worst thing your employer can say is ‘no.’ Increasing your salary may be out of the question, but there are other things that can fulfill your compensation needs. When working on your contract, initial or renewal, with your employer or human resource manager keep non-salary related compensation options in the back of your mind.

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor

Really Hard C-Suite Interview Questions

Really Hard C-Suite Interview Questions

Will you really ever be asked them?

You have received the phone call. Your prospective employer would like to meet with you for an interview. Nice work! But then, before you are even done with the happy dance you were doing around your living room, the fear sets in… an INTERVIEW! Your mind starts swirling through all of the variables. What should you wear? Are they friendly? And most importantly, what kinds of different questions will they ask you? How can you nail this interview, even the really tough questions? Read on, and I assure you, you will be well prepared!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Preparation is the Key for Hard C-Suite Interview Questions

I know, you have heard this phrase so many times. But, I would like to remind you that any situation that we face becomes easier if we are prepared. It is those moments (or questions) that catch us completely unaware that cause us to falter. We are valuable, we are assets to the company and are worthy of the time they are taking out of their busy schedules to meet with us. Now, all we have to do is convince them of that. Review possible questions. You should focus on appearing prepared but not seeming to be rehearsed. Study the company. Talk to other employees where possible. If you are given the name of the Interviewer, see what you can find out about them. Don’t assume that just because they are doing the interview they are good at interviewing. Be prepared to own the conversation and keep it focused in your direction, shining on your accomplishments. Be confident and do the work necessary to gain the reward you seek.

Below are some of the tough questions you are likely to be asked along with some advice on how to answer them.

Tell me about yourself.

Here is the often heard, sometimes dreaded, opening question…It’s tricky, open ended and an easy question to handle incorrectly. They are looking for a quick, two or three-minute summary about you, your history and why you would be a good match for the position. Don’t go any further than that! Save it for the remainder of the interview. The famous “Tell me about yourself” question isn’t an invitation to tell your life story… just tell them what makes you the best candidate.

What do you know about our company and why do you want to be a part of it?

This is where they are checking you out to ensure that you have done your homework. Make sure you have! Have as much information as possible about the company and position that you are applying for. Demonstrate your knowledge and use what you have learned to show the amount of respect for and interest in their company you truly have. This is a great place to show how well your experience will add to and blend in with their needs.

What is your greatest strength? What is your greatest weakness?

These are such unfair questions! Who likes to revel or even discuss their weaknesses—or brag about their strengths? It may play well to come up with a somewhat clever answer for these questions, such as,” I can’t think of any reasons not to hire me, but I have many reasons why you should!”
Give them those reasons! As far as addressing the weakness aspect, be honest. Maybe let them know about an area that you have been working on and improving in, perhaps something that you turned into a strength.

Don’t present the often advised trick of turning a strength into a weakness, such as working too much. This is a tired response; they have heard it countless times before. It also misses the point of the question.

Talk about a time you failed. What happened? What would you do differently?

We tend to make this question harder than it really is. You know where you have been and what you have experienced. As long as you have an event in your mind that you have reviewed, thought through, and are prepared to discuss in your interview, you will be fine. Think of a situation that went differently than planned, that is all it really is. It needn’t be a catastrophe. People make mistakes, everyone knows that so don’t pretend that you never have. Own it, discuss the solutions and lessons learned and move on. It shows experience and demonstrates that you would not make the same mistake in the future.

 Why we should choose you over the other applicants that we have interviewed?

Don’t let this be your undoing. This is a very common question. Re-visit your strengths with added enthusiasm. Show them that you are professional yet personable and friendly. They want to know that you are dependable and competent.

They will undoubtedly ask, “Do you have any questions for me?”

Of course you do! They are not the only one trying to determine if this position is a good fit for you. You need to be doing the same. These questions should be important to you. There are things that you really need to know, such as:

  • What type of candidate are you looking for?
  • Why did this position become available?
  • How would you define success for this person who receives this position?
  • What are the most important skills needed to be successful in this position?
  • What would my first several months be like if I were offered this position?
  • Is there opportunity for growth and advancement in this company?
  • Are you aware of any major changes coming that I may need to be informed of?
  • How do you see this company growing, changing, etc. in the next five years?

    Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Negotiating Compensation

Before the interview be sure to do your research into possible, realistic compensation for the position. You won’t know ahead of time if you will reach this level of discussion, but in case you do, be ready. Be aware of your “walk-away number.” You may not realize it, but the income of top executive’s is often public information. Try checking Salary.com or Glassdoor.com.

What NOT to do…

There are, of course, some guaranteed ways to make a negative impression on these important decision makers. Let’s be sure to avoid the following mistakes:

  • Don’t be arrogant. Acting as if you are better than any lower level candidates, assistants, receptionists, etc. will be certain to leave a negative impression. Instead, impress them as well, with your kindness and genuine interest in them.
  • Don’t “dress down;” be dressed and groomed appropriately for the position.
  • Don’t be negative in general but especially about the economy, the company, or even the competition. A positive attitude will always leave a better impression.
  • Don’t exaggerate or over-sell your skills, work history or abilities. Be honest.
  • Be direct and decisive. Don’t give long, rambling answers to questions. Every minute counts.
  • Let them know that you are genuinely interested in the job. Playing hard to get doesn’t usually pay off in the end.

Final Thoughts about Hard C-Suite Interview Questions

The only guaranteed way to make an interview harder is to not be prepared. Interview questions are not hard if you have anticipated what they may be asking and prepared sincere answers. Know detailed information about the company, the position and most of all yourself! Be relaxed and articulate. Even though there are really no wrong or right answers, there are definitely memorable answers that leave a positive impression.  Demonstrate you vision, your drive and your complete confidence in your abilities. They are sure to be impressed!

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor

Smart Services to Pay for in your Job Search

Smart Services to Pay for in your Job Search

Smart Services to Pay for in your Job Search

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When it is time to find a new job, no matter the circumstances, it can feel like a daunting task.  Even when you are tied into career networking and know the direction in which you would like to go, you can often feel very overwhelmed. Let’s talk about some often overlooked tools that you may not be utilizing.  These tools can prove to be instrumental in directing your job search and making it nearly painless.

  1. Job Boards

There are almost too many online job boards to count. So how do you know which job boards will not prove to be a waste of time? The truth is, this will take some work on your part.  You will want to stick with the familiar, large, more established sites that have been around and successful for a significant amount of time. Also you may want to start with those that are local if you are hoping to stay in the same geographical location. You may find that there is a minimal cost for access to some of these boards; however, many of them are free to use.

Hint:  Always use the advanced search options when searching for jobs on these sites.  By doing so you will significantly narrow down extra information and jobs that do not relate to your needs. This will help your search to be much more efficient.

  1. LinkedIn

If you aren’t already a member of LinkedIn it may be time to become one.  This network can be a valuable asset in your job search.  Rather than spending countless hours doing research or pounding the pavement looking for the perfect career opportunity, let others help you! By using career networking sites such as LinkedIn, you are sending out information about your job needs to a variety of people in many different types of work environments.  It is just like having a team of job recruiters on your payroll.  Don’t forget to give as much as, or even more, than you get—the more you help others, the more likely you are to receive the help you need as well.

  1. Background Checking Services

Have you ever wondered what a former employer would say about you?  You may not even be aware of this, but there are companies that will provide discreet calls to your last boss or supervisor to determine if they will give you a good reference.  One such company is Allison and Taylor, but there are also others.  These companies will help you to feel secure in knowing what potential employers will be told about you. They can also help you with background check reports and other personal areas that may come up as you search for that perfect job.  These services are not free, of course.  However, if you are serious about landing that position that you are qualified to have and just need to be given the chance, this route may be a helpful option for you.

  1. Resume Distribution Services

Resume distribution services are another excellent option that you may be failing to take advantage of.   These distribution companies can help make the most challenging job searches easy and efficient. They help you to reduce the time you would spend on a traditional job search.  These companies are able to maximize your exposure to extraordinary opportunities across the globe by distributing your resume to recruiters and companies that are actively filling positions in your area of expertise. Do a little homework (or ask Amy L. Adler at Five Strengths), find a reputable company and get your information out there!

  1. Resume Writing Services

The final service that is definitely worth mentioning is a resume writing service.  If you aren’t familiar with exactly how these work, let me give you the details.  You submit your relevant information such as: education, previous employers and work experience, additional skills, locations and fields that you are interested in, etc. You will probably also want to submit some form of a resume that you have used in the past.  Once they have all of the information that they need, they compile it into a simply amazing resume! Obviously this saves you both time and frustration!  Let’s face it, writing an attention getting, professional looking resume that will stand out above the rest is not an easy thing to do.  We are not all equipped with the skills or the time necessary to create an exceptional resume. Call Amy L. Adler at Five Strengths Career Transition Experts to talk about your current career goals and resume writing requirements.

And Remember….

No two job searches are the same.  You must personalize your journey.  Make choices that you have completely thought through and feel good about.  Be patient, it may take time.  There are countless “tools” available to help you, let that be a comfort.  Having many options and strategies to choose from is a great thing. Move forward with confidence!

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor

Recruiters — Friend or Foe?

Recruiters — Friend or Foe?

Recruiters are great to have in your corner when looking for a new position. Employers don’t always advertise job openings instead, they hire a professional recruiter. The people who make up this resourceful position keep an extensive network of contacts, know where open positions are, and are trained to place applicants into the best fit position.

Professional Recruiters will typically specialize in one career field. They will know which companies are hiring for those specific positions. If you are looking for multiple positions in multiple fields, you will want to work with more than one recruiter. That isn’t to say you should go to a recruiter for every position you think you would be qualified for, you do need to be selective. Not every recruiter operates the same way and you may tarnish your reputation by utilizing the service too much or with careless application.

Recruiter--friend or foe? Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Recruiter–friend or foe? Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

PROFESSIONAL RECRUITER PROS

FREE

Professional recruiters are paid by their clients, employers, not by you. They should not ask for any compensation from you.

INTERVIEW PREPARATION

Most professional recruiters, once they set you up with an interview, will help you prepare for that interview. They can give you the details about what to expect, information about the company, and what they are looking for from you. Interviews, no matter how many times you go through them, can still be a nerve-wracking process. Any interview preparation that can be done will help you feel more confident and composed during that process.

CONSTRUCTIVE CONNECTION

You want a recruiter who communicates well and works with you to build a mutually beneficial relationship. This means they respect your contact hours, keep you up-to-date, and reach out to you with new opportunities. Having that connection will further your prospects and open new doors for you. While your recruiter may not have that perfect job for you today, they will keep you in mind when it does come along. It is all about matching the best possible fit for each position and a favorable exchange with a recruiter will help them determine where you fit into a new position with your career field.

FAMILIARITY WITH THE CAREER

Hopefully, the recruiter you select will have previous knowledge about the career field you are pursuing. If not, they should attempt to research the individual position and provide you with details about that open job. Some recruiters will have a relationship with companies you are applying at as the companies choose which recruiting agency they want to fill their position. With that relationship, they should be able to give you information beyond the simple job posting. This information could include actual job title, responsibilities, and insight into the company’s culture.

PROPER POSITION SELECTION

You should be confident trusting your recruiter. Knowing they are working around positions that require your skills, have your desired pay scale, and keeps your priorities part of their priorities. Make sure you do your part by submitting all of that information to them – it will make it easier in the long run and alleviate any confusion

POSITIVE INTENTIONS

When it comes to your job hunt, you want the truth. Your recruiter should work with you to set realistic expectations and let you know what is going on. They should make it clear if your line of work isn’t their specialty — maybe even going as far as suggesting another recruiter that does specialize in your field. Recruiters know what their clients want to see on a resume and should let you know if yours is selling you short. If your resume isn’t up to snuff, they should be able to point you in the right direction to get it up to the client’s standards. While the truth might be hard to hear sometimes, recruiters need to have that tough love approach in order to keep everyone’s best interests to heart.

PROFESSIONAL RECRUITER CONS

FRUITLESS CONNECTION

Some recruiters will only contact you if they have a position you would fit into. They focus on results — filling positions for clients. That doesn’t necessarily mean finding you a position or building any kind of rapport with you. It could take these recruiters weeks to get back to you, even if it is bad news for your job search. You really want your recruiter to respect your career path and your personal priorities. You don’t want that call to be in the middle of your work day with the expectation that you will drop what you’re doing and talk to them. And you don’t want an unreliable recruiter. If you are getting this kind of treatment from any recruiter, they are not invested in you and view you as their commission. Filling positions is their job, but if you’re just another number to them, recruiters will push you toward jobs that aren’t fit for you. The recruiter’s client is the company employer, not you. Their priority is finding a body to fill the position and helping you to gain employment is always going to be second priority.

NO INSIGHT TO THE POSITION

If your recruiter doesn’t take the time to get the details of the position, you can’t count on them to keep your priorities in mind. When they don’t know anything beyond what the job’s posting dictates, they can’t help you prepare for the interview or the position. You want a recruiter who is willing to invest the time and effort, to the company and to you, in order to guarantee the best person for the job gets the job.

ILL-SUITED JOB PLACEMENT

Some recruiters don’t bother finding the right fit. They have a canned style of recruiting employees meaning they put your resume out for any position that resembles your field. These recruiters don’t take the time to look closely at the job’s pay, location, or company culture to determine how you would fit into it. If you use a recruiter performing this way, you will probably end up with interviews or even a job that is ill-suited to your abilities.

MISLEADING MOTIVES

The truth isn’t always pleasant and some recruiters use that as the rationale for only telling you what you want to hear. A good rule of thumb: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Recognizing a recruiter’s language — candy-coated promises and overly enthusiastic expectations — is key to determining how they will communicate with you.

More honest recruiters than dishonest are out there. It is in their best interest to do their job well for both their clients and job seekers. They will do everything that they can to find the best person for the job, even if it isn’t you. If you aren’t right for the job, you want a recruiter that will recognize that. You don’t really want any job that isn’t a good fit for you. For example, if you are working for a great company in a low level position and apply for a higher position, but your passion is not with that job, you aren’t the right person for the job. Go after your professional passion. The right fit will make both you and the employer happy. When using a recruiter, part of their importance is their network and expertise at placing individuals into their ideal opportunities. Make sure you’re looking for a job on your own, recruiters aren’t the only way to find employment. Relying solely on the recruiter may cause you to miss out on an opportunity they aren’t aware of. Keep in mind: you are the best candidate for a job, it will just take time to find it.

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor
Job Seekers Succeed for One Simple Reason

Job Seekers Succeed for One Simple Reason…

Job Seekers Succeed for One Simple Reason…

Networking is the best way to learn about new positions.

Even though job search networking may sound intimidating, it is one of the most successful ways to find a new job. It is more common than you realize to be offered a job or to find a contact simply due to a friend or acquaintance knowing your background and skills. If you are serious about finding the best position for your next career, move as quickly as possible, you must reach out and network.Job Seekers Succeed for One Simple Reason image 1

What are the Benefits of Networking?

To be successful as you network, you must find the hidden, unadvertised job market and use every resource available to you.

Networking, when done correctly, will lead to plentiful contacts and friendships that can help you in every aspect of your career, including job hunting and your future career endeavors. It can prove to be more important than any other facet of your search.

Before Networking – Review Your Goals

What do you want others to know about you? What do you need to learn from them?

  • What kind of job are you looking for?
  • Do you want to look for jobs in one city/state?
  • Are you focused on a certain industry?
  • Do you want to find a job at a particular company?
  • Have you attained the skills and experience required for this type of position?

Effective Networking Strategies

When starting out, remember, it’s never about blatantly asking for a job. It’s about talking things over one-on-one with someone you know (or someone who has been referred to you) about common interests and how you might be able to help them and their company.Job Seekers Succeed for One Simple Reason image 2

Before diving into a lengthy narrative about yourself, be sure to ask common questions to get warmed up. Ask about family, friends, interests—topics that you wouldn’t mind discussing yourself. Once the conversation is flowing, you can shift gears the real reason for the call.

 “I’m calling because I’m planning to make a job change soon. I am looking for a new opportunity that will both challenge and expand my skillset. Do you happen to know anyone who works within my target field who may be able to lead me in the right direction?”

Using this simple script as a guide may give you the confidence you need to open up and freely discuss options and career paths that may be available to you in the future.

Career Networking Tips

  1. Create an inventory of your educational background, accomplishments and work history. You never know when a casual interaction may lead to a contact.
  2. Your career network should include, but not be limited to family, friends, members of neighborhood associations, past or present co-workers, supervisors, and colleagues from other business connections. If you are part of an alumni club from your college or university, you may also find leads there.
  3. Use sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and other online communities can help you get in touch with other networkers. Maybe those with college affiliations or that are in a certain geographic area. Also, keep in touch with your network often. This can be as simple as sending a quick note or email to say hello and to ask how they are doing. You want to make an impression and be remembered.
  4. Attend networking events. If you belong to any professional associations, attend a meeting or social function. Many of the attendees will have the same goals you do and will be glad to exchange information.
  5. Add notes to business cards or organize electronically, so you’ll remember the details of who you have just met. Also, follow through with referrals, and always thank contacts in writing or email.

Career Networking Works!

As you can see, career networking isn’t as hard as it seems and it really does work! Knowing how to ask for, and receive, the valuable information you need is the key to finding the right job or career position. It is important to have a solid network in place throughout your career and to use your network whenever possible, when job searching or exploring career options.

Don’t forget to look for opportunities to help others along the way. Through searching for your own needs to be met you may come across a position that would be a great fit for someone else in your network. Share the love and pass it on! Others will remember your thoughtfulness.

Networking is not about you, but it certainly can help your executive job search.

5 Skills for Successful Job Search Networking

5 Skills for Successful Job Search Networking

Having the right contacts can help you get information about the company and what they really want. Building your network is important, especially during your job search. Ideally you will already have some foundation for your network, but further developing it can help you find an opportunity. The following tips will hopefully provide advice for interacting with your network during your job search.

1. Don’t ask for a job (they don’t have one for you).

While most jobs come through personal connections, like those in your network, it is not likely that everyone in your network will recommend or offer you a job. Your network should be a two-way relationship. Instead of asking for a job, work on your elevator speech.

Networking is not about you, but it certainly can help your executive job search.

Networking is not about you, but it certainly can help your executive job search.

  • Be clear about your employment goals.
  • Do some careful self-assessment so you are able to communicate pertinent information about who you are, what you want, and what you can do for them.
  • Prepare and practice.

2. Make it about them, not you.

Offer assistance to people in your network or new contacts you have made. It is much more likely that they will open to the idea of helping you later if you reach out to them first. Go out of your way for them, show interest, and make sure they remember you. The relationship needs to be built on trust. Once the foundation is stable, your contacts will think of you the next time an opportunity arises that you are fit for. Create quality relationships with people — don’t make a contact just to make a contact, actually have a relationship with them.

Make sure you don’t just reach out to people in your network when you need something. Try to contact at least two people from your network a week — check in and ask them questions in general about their well-being as well as offering to help them. Volunteer your services when appropriate.

Remember to say thank you. Write thank-you notes to any recruiters you meet with, referring to the conversation you had with them so they remember who you are. Emails, with un-abbreviated and appropriate content, are a fine way to say thank you to other people in your network. When you get the job or promotion you were working toward, don’t skimp on showing your appreciation, send flowers or a gift basket. Being thankful goes a long way.

3. Get outside your industry (your job function might be transferable).

Schedule and attend two or three networking events per month to find groups you want to join. Use those meetings to make network connections and build relationships. You should have business cards ready to hand out, but don’t be racing around to collect them. Be ready to exchange cards after a conversation. Make the connection, but don’t appear desperate. You want to be genuine, ask questions, and remember that you are trying to help them first. Stay positive and be aware of your body language to create a memorable conversation and to appear more approachable.

4. Ask for more contacts to reach out to.

Contacts within your network have a network of their own. If they mention people in the industry you are pursuing a position in, ask your contact to introduce you to them. After developing a good relationship with your contacts, you will be able to ask them things like:

“I would like to land the marketing manager job at XYZ company. Would you please introduce me to the VP of marketing and follow up with a recommendation phone call telling them why I am qualified for the position?”

You can also utilize social media — sites like Twitter and Facebook — to stay in touch with people after meeting in person. Social media can also be used to start networking with others, like people who currently work for a company you’re interested in being part of. As you grow your network, keep track of who you talk to, what you talk about, when you talked, and what the outcome of that conversation was. If you hold on to that list, you won’t run into any issues of confusion or forgetting communication with that contact.

5. Have a resume, but wait until you build a relationship before sending it.

This goes along with not asking for a job. People in your network don’t need your resume unless they have asked for it. Giving it to them without being prompted to can appear rude. You want to make sure your resume is up-to-date for job opportunities that arise, but don’t force it on people in your network. Presenting your contacts with a resume without being asked can also make you look desperate.

Networking can be a great way to find your perfect job. In general, you want to think long term regarding your network. Relationships don’t develop overnight – it takes time, patience, and dedication. Make a point to consistently meet with new people and people already in your network to start and develop those relationships. You should work on networking skills throughout your professional career and while job searching. Through your network, you can learn from others about the industry, profession, and the companies you are interested in. You shouldn’t discount the connections and opportunities that can come with building your network.

Image by supahkit73 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor

Think about your bridge job as an opportunity, not an obstacle.

A Bridge Job Can Help You Get to the Next Level

A Bridge Job Can Help You Get to the Next Level       

A bridge job can be taken while building your own business or working on goals to attain your ideal position.  A bridge job is an interim job that pays for the necessities while you prepare for a better position or work on building your dream business.A Bridge Job Can Help You Get to the Next Level 1

What Should I Look for in a Bridge Job?

Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur or are working your way up the career ladder, a bridge job will help you build skills and take care of your financial obligations as the future you have planned becomes viable.

Some musts for a bridge job include the following:

  • A bridge job must provide you with stable and consistent hours.

You must be able to clock in and clock out – so to speak.  There should be consistency in scheduling so that you can plan around the job and use your remaining time wisely.  You must be free to focus on and expand your more important areas of expertise.  You will need the ability to plan easily for conferences, networking activities, and other strategies that will enable your experience and business to grow as quickly as possible.

  • A bridge job must provide a dependable paycheck.

To allow you the peace of mind to be able to concentrate on progressing toward your future goals, your bridge job must cover the necessities of life each month therefore freeing your mind from the financial stresses of everyday life.

  • A bridge job must not take more than it gives.

You want a job that you walk away from at the end of the day.  There should be no residual baggage.  That is to say, you do not want a position that requires more energy or effort from you after you have “clocked out.”  There should be no after-hours work such as phone calls, finding new clients, homework, etc.  You should not work more than regular weekly hours at a bridge job so that you are able to have the necessary time to devote to your goals and personal business building.

  • A bridge job provides structure.

Most of us function most effectively with structure. Have you ever heard the saying, “If you want something done, ask a busy person?”  This statement is so true of human nature.  For some crazy reason, many of us tend to work harder when we are up against a deadline.  Is this true for you?  We seem to crave routine and structure innately and we can use that as a weapon to keep our creativity and productiveness running at maximum efficiency.

  • A bridge job provides on-the-job learning.

Whether you are trying to move up the corporate ladder or gain the confidence to go out on your own with a new business, getting paid to learn might be the best perk of all in terms of a bridge job. How you approach this in-between time of your life, the attitude that you bring to the table will have a lot to do with how successful you are. We increase our abilities constantly when we strive to better ourselves. The possibilities are endless.  We can learn something valuable from almost everyone around us if we allow ourselves to do so. 

Some Points to Ponder…

  • One of the biggest obstacles that hold many people back from starting their own business is the fear of not being able to make enough money.
  • A bridge job often pays less than what you make in an actual career position.
  • Even if you have substantial savings, even a year’s worth saved to cover expenses, you still need a bridge job. Working while enduring ongoing or daily financial stress isn’t going to be effective.

And the Biggest Point…

Think about your bridge job as an opportunity, not an obstacle.Getting out there into the work force, even in a less-than-ideal job, will . . . get you out there. You’ll be in a work environment; you’ll be meeting new people; you’ll be learning new things. In other words, you won’t be alone, and you won’t be stuck on your couch wondering about how you can contribute. Take advantage of all of these new opportunities a fresh approach to working can provide. You never know who you’re going to meet and how you might help one another.

There are so many different ways to achieve success. We must all find the path that will provide the ending that we are working so hard for.  A bridge job just might be the missing link that will help you reach your destination.

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor

Image courtesy of scottchan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net / Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
A Resume: Not Just for Job Search

A Resume: Not Just for Job Search

A Resume: Not Just for Job Search

Resumes display your accomplishments, are your marketing tools, and are the foundation of your brand. While keeping yours up-to-date can be painstaking or time-consuming, doing so is important. You never know when you will need your resume. Not only do you need it if, worst-case scenario, you are in the market for a new job or career path, but resume writing can help you reflect on your professional development and even prepare for your next annual review.A Resume: Not Just for Job Search

Why should you update your resume?

Simply put, life is fluid and your resume should show every change you find important. If you only update the document when you’re looking for a job, you could sell yourself short. Taking the time to write down all of your accomplishments will give you an edge when you actually need your resume. Think of it more like a list of completed tasks than a dictation of your skills:

  • Presentations, Conferences, Interviews

You may be asked to or want to present at a conference, publish any of your work, or sit for an interview. Providing the media or conference organizer with your resume will back up your information. Then, you can add that experience to your resume!

  • Nominations

Colleagues can nominate you for awards, but your resume usually needs to be presented to the awards committee for validation. An up-to-date resume will reveal all of your achievements in a way you are confident and comfortable with. Waiting until asked will result in a rush to fix that years old resume and scrambling to come up with something that won’t represent yourself well.

  • Freelance work

While you might not be looking for a new job or career, you may decide to pick up side jobs. Freelancing is a good way to earn some spending money and add on to your skill set. However, most contracted work requires a current resume.

  • Recruiters

If you keep your social media (LinkedIn) up to date as well, a recruiter might reach out to you. Your skills and experience draw attention. Recruiters look for the best fit candidates despite job standing. Of course, you can turn down any offers or ignore recruiters, but keep that resume recent on the off chance you might be interested.

  • Promotion at your current workplace

Promotion opportunities don’t become available often. If your resume is current, you can apply for that promotion quickly, without having to take the time to change it.

Put yourself in the employer’s shoes

When creating your resume, think about what an employer wants to see. What are they looking for and what experiences will set you apart from other potential candidates? Resumes are a snapshot of you as a person and most employers spend about ten seconds perusing a resume unless they find something worth further inspection. Electronic documents are used much more often than paper, so keep that in mind. If your resume looks like everyone else’s, it will be treated in kind. Employers also appreciate consistency. When taking the time to recent your resume, be consistent — meaning don’t just update LinkedIn if your resume is posted on several other social media profiles. And take the time to tailor it to a job you are interested in. If you want to highlight your skills for one job but experience for another, create different copies of your resume to that effect.

Think about your resume like a long-term career management tool. When you sit down to update it, you have the opportunity to examine your personal values, communication-style, and experiences to display them in a manner that will set yourself apart from your competition. It is a great way to highlight all of your experiences and reflect on where you’ve been to how far you’ve come in your career. Using a resume to reflect on all of your positions and skills gives you an opportunity to be confident in your abilities and know exactly of what you are capable. Even if you aren’t currently looking for a job, you should keep it as up-to-date as possible. Don’t wait until you need a resume, keep one on hand for worst-case scenarios or if you are pursuing a step up in your career field.

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor
Image by phasinphoto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Resume Writing Prepares you for your Next Interview

Resume Writing Prepares You for Your Next Interview

Comprehensive resume development is great prep for your next interview.

If you have spent any time at all looking into the best interview strategies, then surely you have come across the all-too-familiar “four P’s of interviewing:”

  1. Preparation.
  2. Practice.
  3. Personal presentation.
  4. Pertinent questions.

These are all important for different reasons. However, I would like to plead a case for the one that I feel is the crucial piece of the puzzle, the “glue” so to speak, that will hold all the other components in a nice straight line, PREPARATION.

Preparation is the Key

The best way to prepare for an interview is through comprehensive resume preparation, something you need to do at the start of your job search, anyway! Using your resume to prepare for your interviews is an amazing way to accomplish two things at once and ultimately save time in the process. We all want to be as productive as possible, especially when dealing with finding new employment.

Your Career Inventory

Resume Writing Prepares you for your Next Interview

Resume Writing Prepares you for your Next Interview

Part of compiling or updating your resume is doing an extensive career inventory. First, compare what the employer is seeking to your qualifications, experience, and accomplishments. Through deeply exploring your past work experience and responsibilities you will actually be preparing for your interview. Think about these critical questions:

  • What was expected of you in each position?
  • What did you learn?
  • Did you find solutions to issues in the workplace that improved your situation?
  • How can the knowledge gained be used in a new position?
  • In what ways are you a better candidate because of your previous experience?

The answers to these questions could appear in any job interview. Studying them in the context of your ideal role will help you to build a detailed, informative resume as well as be prepared for the questions that will undoubtedly come in almost any interview. If this feels like a daunting task and you would prefer to have some guidance to tackle the most current trends in the job market you could go through an executive resume writing service. As experts in resume writing, we will develop the in-depth questions and information that will narrow the gap between your experience and your hiring executives’ requirements, thus putting you ahead of the competition!

Which Path Do You Want to Take?

Take an extensive look at the types of roles you have previously filled and compare them with where you would like to be in the future. Through doing this you are able to deeply analyze where you have been and where you are going. As the Cheshire cat told Alice, “if you don’t know where you are going, it doesn’t matter what path you take.” That is not the way that we want to approach the future. We want you to have a clear direction—a career search plan that succeeds. In short, we want to be prepared in every way possible.

Put Your Mind at Ease: Know How Your Resume Connects to Your Interview Strategy

Think about how at ease you would feel as the interview approaches if you have fresh in your mind a comprehensive view of your work history. Rather than having your resume be a vaguely familiar piece of paper that is printed off in a rush on your way out the door to the interview, use this tool as a preparatory strategy that supports your interview technique. Your resume is an important tool that is refined, accurate, and serves the right purpose in attaining the position you are interviewing for.

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Man holding sign reading "unemployed."

How to Proceed after a Layoff: 5 Practical Strategies

How to Proceed after a Layoff: 5 Practical Strategies

Companies have ups and downs with the changes in the economy, and your employment status depends on the company’s stability. Being laid off is not the end of your career, as the layoff is not for cause—the job simply ceases to exist. Consider the following strategies to help you after a “separation,” an umbrella term for the various reasons you and your company part ways:

Take care of you.

Whatever the reason for the separation, it is never a pleasant experience. Allow time to heal; don’t waste your time being angry at your previous employer. Think about where you might have the ambition to work next, and prepare for your future rather than dwell on your past. You will find another job in your career field, provided it may take time. The best course of action, in the meantime, would be to work on yourself. This means you can allow yourself to grieve the loss of your former role while focusing on your future.

Reconnect with or build your network.

Man holding sign reading "unemployed."

Unemployment isn’t the end of your career. Start rebuilding with these 5 practical strategies for recovering after a layoff.

When you are ready to return to your career field, you will want that network to build on and rely on for opportunities. Branch out with contacts via LinkedIn or other business social media, and turn those online connections into phone calls and meetings to support your new job search.

Building your network:

  • Enhances skills you can bring to a business
  • Supports fresh ideas for your current or new organization
  • Develops an improved understanding of the business environment

—all helping you become a stronger leader and finer follower. It takes time to build a successful network, especially if you have not used this strategy before, yet it will be worth the effort.

One caveat: Don’t assume they understand your immediate needs or ask those contacts for a job. This is a binary, dead-end question that only can be answered “yes” or “no.” Instead of asking this closed question, use your networking opportunities to generate deeper, broader insights into your contact’s experience and expertise.

Volunteer in your career field or in your community.

Volunteer work adds skills to your personal knowledge bank and meat to your resume. It can also provide you with an activity to fill your time while you are in job limbo. Volunteering supports your current passions or demonstrates work you aren’t fit for. There are plenty of reasons to volunteer: to benefit others, to make a difference, to develop additional skills, to feel better about yourself, to explore other areas of interest, and numerous others. And, this volunteer experience can become a line item on your resume, which explains fruitfully what you have been doing since the time you separated from your company.

Learn a new skill.

Don’t just pass time — build on your abilities and enhance your skills. Maybe there is a computer program you’ve always longed to learn or a communication skill you recognize you need to improve on. Consider this time now available to build new skills and complete that course or certification you have been thinking about. Work on that new skill and add it to your knowledge bank.

Prepare your resume.

A resume is not just for earning your next job. It allows you to highlight your accomplishments and the skills you earned from those accomplishments. You can either use the time to reflect on your career and the skills you have and prepare a sparkling resume yourself or, as recommended, you can hire a professional resume writer to give your resume that extra polished feel.

Remember, a layoff reflects no fault of your own. The majority of layoffs involve mass groups of the company’s employees, not just one, not just you. Employers take the time to consider each individual they layoff, your being on the list is chalked up to crummy luck. Who is laid off has little to do with work ethic and competence and more to do with the budget or politics of the company’s situation. Dust yourself off and strive toward getting back out in your field.

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor

Image by winnond at FreeDigitalPhotos.net