5 Considerations Before Accepting the Job (Besides Salary!)

When deciding whether or not to accept a job offer, it’s important to look at more than just dollars and cents. Money is important, and we all obviously want as much as possible, but a job can and should bring with it many other benefits that matter to us, sometimes, more than money.

If you’ve received a job offer, make sure to take the following in to consideration:

  1. Traditional Benefits – What typical benefits come along with the position?  Do they offer health, dental and vision insurance? How about disability and life insurance?  401(K) or other retirement savings program? Look deeper than just whether they offer something or not.  Sure, they offer health insurance – but how much does it cost you?  Is there a high deductible? What are the co-pays?  Great they have a 401(K) – but do they contribute to it?
  2. Work/Life Balance – Does the company offer flexible hours?  Does the culture of the organization recognize the needs of working parents? Are there options to telecommute from time to time? Finding a flexible work environment can be one of the greatest non-financial benefits that exists.  A company that provides flexible hours and generous time off programs, tends to trust employees and respect that they have lives outside of the office.
  3. Culture – What is the culture of the office look like? Does it seem like co-workers like each other?  What’s the general aura of the office – upbeat or heads-down? It’s important to find a company culture that suits your personality, skills, and career goals.
  4. Perks – What perks does the company offer?  Many company offer lots of perks like free parking, fitness facilities, discounts at retailers, onsite cafeteria, etc.  While they may seem minor, company perks can have a positive impact on your quality of life.
  5. Room for Growth – Does the job and/or the company offer you the opportunity to grow professionally?  Is there a culture of promoting from within?  Does the company invest in training or tuition reimbursement?  If you find a company that is willing to invest in you – you will be able to grow your career – and your salary!

Deciding whether or not to take a job offer is a big decision, one that should not be made lightly. But salary isn’t the only thing to consider. Make sure to look at the total picture before you sign on the dotted line.

What other aspects of a job offer should be considered before accepting?

This post originally appeared on the Personal Branding Blog

What’s Up with the One Page Resume Rule?

There’s a bit of conventional wisdom out there about how long a resume should be.  Many career advisers, resume writing books and websites, and even some blogs suggest that people should keep their resume to one single page.  Job seekers shrink their font sizes, decrease their margins, and use other tricks to try and force their resume to meet this rule. In my humble, yet professional, opinion – it is okay to have a two or three page resume.  It’s what you do with that resume that really counts.

Picture graciously borrowed from talknerdy2me.org

 

There is a real benefit to a one-page resume.  You see, when we post a job opening, chances are we will get dozens and dozens of resumes – big companies in metro areas may get hundreds and hundreds!  This leaves those of us screening resumes very little time to invest in deeply reading each applicant’s resume. When we screen resumes, we do what comes natural – start at the top and work our way down.  Now, if we get half way through page one and find nothing of interest – we’ll probably stop looking at that particular resume and will move on to the next one.  The more concise your resume is, the more likely the aspects of your resume that you want to stand out will.

So, is it okay to have a two or three page resume?  Yes, but make sure on page one, and early on page one for that matter, you highlight the most pertinent information for the job for which you are applying.  One way to do this is to include a “summary of qualifications” or a “summary of achievements” as one of the first sections of your resume.  If all the good stuff is buried on page two, I can assure you it will never get read if there is nothing to excite the person reviewing your resume on page one.

 

This post originally appeared on the Personal Branding Blog (www.personalbrandingblog.com)

Looking for a Job? Leave No Stone Unturned

We are creatures of habit – we get comfortable with certain TV channels, websites, and magazines, and we tend to stick with them.  When it comes to looking for a job, we tend to take the same approach, and most of us go with what we know and stick to it.  You can increase your chances of finding a great job if you expand your horizons and use more and different tools.

General Job Boards

We’re all familiar with the big ones – Monster and Careerbuilder, and you should check these often but there are other general job boards out there that are worth checking.  Indeed.com is the largest job search site that aggregates jobs from all over the web, displaying jobs from both Monster and Careerbuilder, but also niche sites and corporate careers pages.  SimplyHired is another job search aggregator and good resource to check out.  Craigslist is popular for all sorts of classifieds, and jobs are no different.  It’s cheap or free for employers to post.  America’s Job Exchange replaced the Department of Labor’s America’s Job Bank a few years back and has become a popular site for non executive positions.  Snagajob.com specializes in hourly jobs.  There are also many regional/geographical job boards – many can be found through your local newspaper’s website or through Jobing.com.

Social Media

LinkedIn’s focus on one’s professional network made it a natural place to start a job board – and LinkedIn did just that several years ago.  It was on LinkedIn that I found my current job!  Even better – you can usually see who posted the job and check to see if you have any connections in common.  Twitter has also become a popular way to look for jobs.  You can use hashtags like #hiring #jobs, etc to find open jobs.  Many companies are tweeting out there jobs!

Niche Sites

Chances are you may be looking for a job in a particular field.  Dice.com specializes in IT and tech jobs. FINS.com specializes in finance and is owned by the Wall Street Journal.  Idealist.org focuses on jobs in not-for-profit organizations. Ecoemploy.com looks like a hokey website – but is a great resource for environmental jobs. Biospace lists jobs in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and life sciences fields.  If you’re in a niche – chances are there is a job board out there that specifically focuses on you!

Professional Associations

Many professional associations also have a job board component to their website.  If there is a leading organization within your field – you should definitely be checking out their job board.  The American Marketing Association posts jobs on their Marketing Power website. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has a job board, and so does the New England HR Association (NEHRA) both chock full of HR jobs right up my alley!  Don’t just look at national association websites – but also regional, state, and local!

Diversity

Many companies are working to make their work force more diverse and are doing so through targeted job posting using websites that are marketed towards specific groups.  Latpro.com and HispanicDiversity.com target Latino/a job seekers. AMightyRiver.com and BlackPerspective.com focus on helping African Americans find work.  LGBTCareerLink.com is Out & Equal’s job board for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered job seekers.

Recruiters have just as many choices as job seekers do. Some companies have large budgets with the ability to plaster their openings all over the place.  Other companies may have very limited budgets and will only post on websites that they hope will bring the highest number of viable candidates possible.  The tough thing is that you never know where you will find your perfect job – so it’s important that you look everywhere you can and leave no stone unturned.

 

This post original appeared on the Personal Branding Blog (www.personalbrandingblog.com)

Should You Show Your Stripes? Politics & Your Personal Brand

In this highly contentious election year, politics are everywhere. Surf the web, flip the channels, or tune your radio and right before your very eyes or ears talking heads everywhere are dissecting and opining on politics in the U.S. and the 2012 Presidential Election.

According to the Pew Research Center, the political climate in the U.S. is the most polarized it has been in 25 years.  To get at this, Pew has been conducting and tracking surveys since 1987 measuring 48 political values among US voters.  The results?  The gap in values between Democrats and Republicans has doubled and for the first time ever is greater than any other demographic – gender, race, class, etc.1

So what does all this mean for your personal brand and your job search?

We all fall somewhere on the political spectrum; some of us are passionate about our beliefs, which often translate in to action: from desktop politicking by promoting candidates and positions through social media tools to campaign volunteering and activism.

You may feel compelled to list your blogging with the Obama campaign, or your phone banking with the Romney campaign on your resume.  And why not?  You gained valuable real world experience doing these things that can easily transfer to the working world; but with the country being so polarized, there is a high likelihood that you will encounter people in your job search who think differently than you when it comes to politics. Being so open about your leanings can leave you open to discrimination.

You need to be cautious as to how, or if, you demonstrate your political allegiances.  

If you are compelled to politic – play nice – don’t get personal, hit below-the-belt, or call names.  Make educated arguments to support your points, and always stay professional.  Be extra careful about how you communicate any views which may be considered to be extreme by some.

Personally, the path I have chosen is to almost completely limit my politicking to my personal social circles (Facebook), and to minimize reference to my political beliefs on my public social networks (Twitter, LinkedIn) allowing little insight into my political persuasions to potential employers.

Ultimately, the choice is yours.  What is the right ratio for you between freedom of expression and the personal brand you want to portray to the professional community?

1 – Pew Research Center, Partisan Polarization Surges in Bush, Obama Years, June 4, 2012 http://pewresearch.org/pubs/2277/republicans-democrats-partisanship-partisan-divide-polarization-social-safety-net-environmental-protection-government-regulation-independents

This post originally appeared on the Personal Branding Blog (www.personalbrandingblog.com)

7 Things Confidential Job Postings Say About Your Company

I always snicker and shake my head when I see a job posting listed as “Company Confidential“.  “Don’t these people get it?” I say to myself.

A job posting is one of the most frequent forms of advertising your company – and perhaps the number one way to represent your employment brand – you know -the image you project as to whether your company is a good place to work or not?  By publishing your job postings confidentially, you not only miss the opportunity to spread your employment brand, but you actually hurt it!  Plus, you’ll just delay the time it takes you to fill with your really bad version of grown up Hide and Seek.  Here’s what posting your open jobs confidentially  says about you:

  1. You don’t get talent! Candidates are leery about applying for confidential postings.  You’ll potentially miss out on the one by hiding who you are.
  2. You’re sneaky!  Do you already have someone in this role and you want to try and back fill them before they are out the door?  Would you post my job without talking to me someday? Are you conducting interviews in dark alleys?
  3. You’re ashamed! What are you hiding?  Shouldn’t the name of your company draw in applicants?
  4. You’re cowardly! Are you trying to avoid internal applications and the difficult conversations associated with having to let someone down?
  5. You’re old school! You think people should be lucky to work for you and have no other options.
  6. You’re not resourceful! You’re missing out on referrals from your employees and network.
  7. You’re lazy! You don’t want to “waste your time” wading through so many resumes so why not limit the amount you receive?

Sure, we can think of benefits to posting jobs confidentially…I’m talking to you staffing agencies who can’t hunt us down and blow up our phones…but the benefits nowhere near outweigh the detriment to your employment brand and your talent acquisition strategy in the global fight for talent.  Post confidentially, and you’ll enjoy less resumes, less talent,  and longer time to fill.  Enjoy!

BUSTED! Don’t Be an Interview Liar!

A job interview can be an anxiety causing situation – you want to make a good impression, you want (or need) the job.  So something happens inside you – you’re not the same person – you start to exaggerate your experience – and then – BAM – you’ve gone too far! 

Bad idea, mon frère!  We HR folks are pretty crafty – and it’s our job to smoke out the liars.   Recently, I conducted an interview with a candidate and asked them a question to see how they would describe a very technical concept to a non-technical person.  To be fair to them, I first asked if they knew the difference between Concept A and Concept B – to which they quickly said “Yes, I do”.  I then asked them to explain the difference to me as if I did not understand the technical jargon.  This caught them off guard and the person struggled to explain something that they clearly did not understand.  Ultimately, as the candidate stumbled through their answer, they finally came clean and said they did not know the difference.  They also said they weren’t expecting to be asked technical questions in an interview with an HR person.  Oh no you didn’t just underestimate me! 

The truth is – I wasn’t asking the question to see if they knew the difference between the two concepts – I was asking them to see how they would explain something technical in an easy-to-understand way.  The problem was not that they didn’t know.  The problem then became that they LIED about their knowledge, assuming I wouldn’t ask a deeper follow-up question.

It amazes me how many people don’t recognize that a good interviewer is going to ask follow-up questions.  When asking about computer skills, I start off asking the person to rate their skills for various Office programs on a 1 – 10 scale.  When a person rates themselves high – like a 9 or a 10, I probe further, asking for them to tell me about the most complicated spreadsheet they ever created, or to tell me about the advanced features they know.  Surely, if they are a 9 or a 10, they must know some advanced features, right?

One more example, I interviewed a candidate for a position that would have required the person to work with Spanish-speaking workers.  The person claimed as a strength their ability to speak and understand Spanish.  Being an intermediate Spanish-speaker myself, I asked him to tell me something in Spanish.  He couldn’t do it.

While this type of questioning does give insight into the candidate’s knowledge-base, the main purpose is to see how honest and how willing to admit their mistakes they are.

Recruiters – what liars have you BUSTED in your interviews? Did you hire them?

Job seekers – what lies have you told to get the job?  Did you ever get BUSTED?

Guest Post: Dear Recruiters – Help Me, Help You! (by Mark Campanale)

I love LinkedIn. There are so many powerful tools in this one community that can help you meet new people, reconnect with business contacts, and get questions answered by people you’ve never met who are willing to help you, even earn new business and find a job.

What LinkedIn is not for is – unsolicited spamming. I’ll explain:

Earlier this month, I put myself back on the job market.  I changed my contact settings to include ‘interested in career opportunities’.  My friends and connections were more than happy to help me in my search and gave me some fantastic referrals.  However, this also opened the door for phone calls like this:

Recruiter:“HI Mark! Your resume just came across my desk, and I have the perfect opportunity for you.”

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Me: “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name and who you are with.”

Recruiter: “This is (doesn’t matter) and I’m from So-and-So Recruitment.”

Me: “Hmm. I didn’t send your firm a resume.  Can you tell me how you found it?”

Recruiter: “I saw your status on LinkedIn that you were looking and we have lots of jobs that you may be interested in.”

The biggest issue here is that the job(s) this person was calling me for had nothing to do with my experience.  My profile clearly defines me as a social media and marketing professional and NOT someone interested in entry-level insurance sales with no experience necessary.  This particular recruiter could have benefited if they had tried to get to know me by:

  • Viewing my profile for ‘fit’
  • Seeing if we had any contacts in common, and asked for a referral
  • Sending me an InMail with an introduction to warm up their cold call

And even if I wasn’t a fit, maybe I know someone who is!  LinkedIn is about building solid, professional relationships. As of this posting, I have 496 connections which equal approximately 6.5 million professionals in my network. I am far more inclined to take an appointment when someone is referred by one of my trusted contacts. It happens all the time – it’s why LinkedIn is so powerful and has been around for so long because it PRODUCES ROI!

There are some AMAZING recruiters on the web (Tim Walsh, David Graziano) who truly get that personal branding and positioning yourself as a trusted advisor are the best ways to earn business.

The take away is, don’t lurk; don’t think the answer to somebody’s question is your services. Find a way to connect with prospects through your contacts. You’ll earn more than new business; you’ll earn trust, which, in business, is the most valuable tool you can use.

This is my profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/markcampanale

Feel free to see whom we have in common or who you may know that can introduce us. I’m always willing to help other’s succeed in business.

Your comments are greatly appreciated.

This guest blog is from Mark Campanale of the Ultimate Customer Experience blog

The Myth of the One-Page Resume (Kinda-Sorta)

One of the most common questions I get asked when someone finds out I work in Human Resources is whether or not their resume really needs to be only one-page long. My answer? No, it doesn’t.

Why do people think this? Certain books suggest it. Some career counselors swear it’s the way it should be. The truth is, no self-respecting HR professional is going to look at a resume and say “Oh, this qualified candidate’s resume is two pages…they’re out!”

But there is a benefit to keeping your resume to one-page (or as few pages as possible)…the more concise you can be on your resume, the more likely the items you want to highlight will be read by the person reviewing it. Resume reviewers, in many cases, receive hundreds of resumes from job seekers; and to get through them all requires screening for key words and information that matches the requirements being sought. Only when the screener finds information of interest will they stop and read more. If they find nothing of interest on page one, they most likely won’t turn to page two. If all the good stuff is on page two, it may never be seen!

So, what’s important is not keeping your resume to one-page, but structuring your resume in such a way as to highlight the most relevant and important information about your qualifications and experiences by locating them as close to the top of the first page as possible. That’s why you’ll see many resumes begin with a “summary of qualifications” or a list of achievements. Just like a good book, if the beginning grabs the reader’s attention, they will keep reading further.

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