Duh! You REALLY Don’t Know What You Want?

At a recent job fair in Omaha, Nebraska America’s Job Coach was amazed at the number of people who DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY WANT TO DO!!

America’s Job Coach asked over 100 people there the question of “What kind of work are you looking for?” At least 50% said “I don’t know,” or “Oh, I can do a lot of things…”

WRONG!! If you are on a job hunt and expect an EMPLOYER to decide for you what you want to do with your life or what you should do for your work life, you most likely will have to KEEP looking for work.

Employers are looking for two things: 1.) People who can do a very specific task for them in an efficient, helpful, professional and educated way, or, 2) People who are “raw talent” who are incredibly moldable and who have such great attitudes the potential employer will just have to hire them if they are adding entry-level or general talent.

Which one are you?

“As a Customer Service Rep for your firm, I can retain and expand your customer base due to my strong people skills and business savvy.”

Most would agree that that kind of pitch will get you hired faster than, “Well, I can do a lot of things;” or, “I’m not sure what I want to do.”

Reminds me of the concept of a TwitterVator Speech which you can learn about at this link: here on YouTube.

Check it out and PLEASE have an answer for the question of ‘What do YOU want to do “out there?”

America’s Job Coach
Author: Laid Off & Loving It for 2010

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Do You Suck at Interviewing?

You wear the right clothing. You are very proficient in your field. You know people in your industry. Your resume was good enough to get the interview. And then you blow it!

Too many people do most things right and then just plain, to be brutal, suck at interviewing.

Top 10 Reminders (that you probably already know):

1. This meeting is THEIR meeting. What can YOU do for THEM?

2. See number one above…focus on what your CONTRIBUTIONS can be to the company…not what they can give to YOU. Don’t lead off asking about the vacation policy!

3. Be on time. Duh!! Scope the trip, the parking, etc. out ahead of time? But don’t show up 30 minutes ahead of time because you look too eager and like you have nothing to do.

4. Make them look away first during that eye contact phase of shaking hands. Look at the bridge of their nose if this idea makes you nervous. Your eye contact shows your confidence.

5. Bring copies of your resume along! You don’t know who will show up at you interview without one. Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared!

6. Bring some questions written in your notebook. I’ve interviewed many who show up with empty hands and it looks like they just wandered in off the street.

7. Regarding number 6, isn’t it worth a few hours on this internet thing to research competitors, industry trends, technology, press releases and investor relations sections so you HAVE good questions? They WILL ask if you have any questions. Sample: “I noticed your competitor, ABC company just released XYZ service/product. How will that affect your similar product/service?”

8.Regarding number 7 and having something to say: Don’t say TOO MUCH!! America’s Job Coach would be living in a most favorable city where he interviewed many years ago if he followed this edict. He was right for the job but TOO EAGER. He talked the interviewers to DEATH. He had the job and pissed it away! Better to ask: “Does that answer your question or would you like more detail?” Tap the brakes now and then.

9. If you are interviewing for a SALES related job, DON’T say, “I can get by on “X dollars.” The sales manager wants to know you will knock the cover off their quotas…not “settle.” Try “My goals are to sell enough of your product / service to enjoy a six figure income in six to twelve months. If I make enough sales, will your commission plan get me there?”

10. If you are interviewing for a technology-related position, it’s a buyer’s market for talent. If your tech skills are outdated admit it and don’t play the overused “I’m a fast learner” bit. How about “I am only familiar with your ABC platform BUT, my INDUSTRY KNOWLEDGE and SKILLS WITH USERS LIKE YOURS can help move your IT department forward. Would you like more detail?”

Bottom line: Be strategic. Be prepared. Stare them down. Use success stories (next blog post). Smile! ūüôā

Good stories on the above strategies abound in “Laid Off & Loving It for 2010” …a timeless classic.

Will YOU Be “Working on the Railroad” (Obama’s high speed railroad)?

Now that the president’s State of the Union speech has had a few days to reverberate, what do you think? He wants to put America to work by rebuilding our infrastructure and building a high speed railroad. He want us to rally around the train as he seems intent on having his own “Sputnik Moment.”

For those readers who are NOT over 50, a Sputknik Moment refers to the late 1950s when Russia surprisingly launched one of the first sattellites ever. A slack-jawed US decided that it was BEHIND in what was to become known as the Space Race. President Kennedy rallied the scientific troops and the Apollo Program enabled the USA to successfully shoot the moon. This was mostly inspired by that Sputnik Moment.

Obama seems to want find that moment in order to launch his own presidential legacy. He seems to be worried about his legacy more than he is worried about getting 15,000,000 people working again. It almost seemed like he was launching a trial (Sputnik?) balloon to see if the “Speedy Little Engine That Could,” can become his Apollo program.

When I was unemployed twice in 2010 (yes…laid off from my day jobs twice!), I didn’t entertain visions of using my (non-existent) engineering skills to design and implement the Speedy Little Engine That Could. Nor was I contemplating using my (weak but findable) construction skills to lay down ties, rockbed and track.

So, I would have been “stuck in the middle with you” as the song says if the Speedy Little Engine That Could was my only option. If that train is Barry O.’s way of revitalizing my career, the infrastructure, and America’s work force, well then God Bless him…I hope it works. I just don’t know where I, ME-MYSELF-and I fit into that scheme.

Fortunately, I was able to slightly tweak my skills and reinvent myself just a little and land two new day job gigs after those two layoffs.

Why all this blather about Sputnik moments and little speedy engines? Because it is not up to our Hopefully Hawian Commander in Chief to redesign your career, your marketability and your vocational passion. I am not lecturing here…just trying to inspire. What can YOU do if you don’t fit into a job where you are working on the railroad?

Can you tweak your Twittervator Speech (see “TwitterVator Speech” on www.youtube.com) to get an idea about how you can pitch your renewed and reinvented self. Getting the flavor of my TwitterVator Speech there will save you from having to buy “Laid Off & Loving It for 2010″ as found on www.amazon.com.

So whether we are the engineers building the Speedy LIttle Engine That Could, or the laborers who are building it’s seat cushions or the tracks for it to run on, or somewhere in between, remember to rely on yourself, not government policy and programs to tweak and promote your emerging new and better career! America’s Job Coach (www.americasjobcoach.com) thinks you can, he THINKS you can…He KNOWS you can!

America’s Job Coach

Are You As a Mature Worker Strategic Enough?

This content is from the www.resumark.com Blog and the main content is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics www.bls.gov. 

It is helpful for all people who are in or considering a career change or upgrade. Seeing where¬†things are headed, even¬†if you don’t have the background to specifically do some of these specialized jobs is helpful. Why?

Because you can look at these fast growing functions and use the skills you DO have to SUPPORT these growing professions!

Considering Changing Your Career? Be Aware Of 20 Occupations With The Fastest Growth And 20 Occupations With The Fastest Decline..

Hoping for a strategic and prosperous New Year for all !

America’s Job Coach

Author: Laid Off & Loving It For 2010

Will 2010 Lead to 2020 Vision or 2020 Hindsight?

We just saw the end of a year and¬†the end of a decade. A very turbulent decade. No rehash needed because you have seen all the life changing events in the media lately. Ten years is a big chunk of time in anyone’s life.

So if you agree that this hunk of time is noteworthy, shouldn’t it be marked with big ideas and big goals? What will your life be like in 2020? Will you have 2020 vision or will you coast through another ten years and only¬†THEN have 2020¬†hindsight? That date is only ten years away. Just think how fast the last ten years came and went. 9/11 seems like yesterday, doesn’t it? A little strategic thinking may really get you postured¬†well occupationally for the future.

What if YOU had known ten years ago that 350 to 400 million people globally would be putting vast details about their work history and/or personal traits, families and friends on social networking websites? Would that have been good to know? Could that have affected your job or your industry? What if you could have, ten years ago, guessed right about some trends in banking or other industries?

I am not directing us all to become wise sages here who can predict the future and then profit from that. What I am suggesting is that you, at the start of an exciting new decade which is going to be RIFE with change, give some thought to the world of work, invention, trends, entrepreneurship, etc. Where will the new decade take you?

How will the marriage¬†of technology and health care, the emerging world of finance, the ongoing “green” parade, or the globalization of most anything affect your occupation? Remember, today¬†radiologists¬†in India can read the scans made of your hip which the lesser educated US-based technologist just took of you in the local MRI room. If those kinds of changes are occuring¬†in the medical world, how will things change in your world?

The movie “Up In the Air” is a new release staring George Clooney. His character travels constantly to companies which are downsizing or laying off their employees. He is the hatchet man who breaks the bad news. One of his stock lines during the terminations¬†is that this action will now allow the¬†people who are cut to go on and finally pursue their dreams.¬† He implies to his public that he is almost helping them by “liberating” them.¬† This blog will discuss more about Clooney’s movie later, but hold Clooney’s thought in mind: Is your life standing in the way of your dreams? Can your 2020 Vision or Hindsight apply to YOUR decade ahead?¬†

What do you think? Add a comment about where you think everything will head and how that could affect your career. Will globalization make your job obsolete? Or, will offshoring have proved ineffective in your industry so your skills are back in demand?

Kick out your ideas here…Maybe as a group this career advice forum can come up with the next FaceBook, twitter.com or something similar… THAT would show some 2020 Vision!

Think big…think bold!

America’s Job Coach
Author: Laid Off & Loving It for 2010

“SHE-Shoring” During This “HE-cession”

“HE-cession” means that during this recession, the unemployment rate for men is 10.7 %, but the unemployment rate for women is “just” 8.1%. This term was coined, I believe, by David Zincenko of Mens’s Health in a USA Today op ed piece. Let me know if I am wrong.

So, are employers “SHE-shoring?” America’s Job Coach invented this term while reading about the He-cession. We’ve heard for years how women are paid less than men for similar work. Some studies say up to 30% less! I am not a statistics guru, but I think we can all agree that in too many cases, women earn less than their male peers for similar work.

Now add to the mix that fact that this recession has been slightly “less cruel” to women. Fewer women than men have lost their jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statics (8.1% verses 10.7%). My question: Why?

SHE-shoring is “Offshoring Gone Female.” Offshoring, in case you have been under a rock for a dozen years, is where a company ships chunks of its work off US shores to countries like India, China, Mexico, Ireland, and a host of other places. Employers “offshore” tasks to locations to try to save labor costs. And firms often layoff US staff after completing the offshoring.

Computer work, customer support work, manufacturing etc. are often functions which see work offshored but all professions are being touched by this trend. Even some USA fast food restaurants will use an offshored person to take your order over the drive through window. That person then sends your order over the Internet to the locals who cook and wrap your triple cheeseburger.

So can I blame that China-based fellow for the lack of honey mustard in my chicken nuggets bag? I suppose it was the local guy who stiffed me on the dip though. But hey, they are communicating across the globe so it is no wonder my sauce is missing sometimes! As Thomas L. Friedman has aptly pointed out, The World Is Flat.

So, most major companies have embraced some level of Off-Shoring to save labor costs. Do they therefore, have a grand design or plan to lay off women less often than men? If a Fortune 1000 company sends work overseas to save money, doesn’t it make sense that they also would lay off their most expensive people first? Does this explain the He-cession? If a gender pay gap exists inside a company, does ACME layoff Harry or Harriet? Is Joe sent packing before Joan?

Who knows what goes on in executive minds when they are deciding what staffers to cut. Now however, statistics imply that men are harder targets for the layoff axe than are their wives, sisters, moms and daughters.

Who cares? You should. This blog exists to help people get on their feet during a career transition. Part of that is knowing the look of your playing field. If you are a male looking for work or a better job, be aware of SHE-Shoring. If you are a female looking for work or a better job, be aware of SHE-shoring. It is critical to know your competition when job hunting.

I heard a story about a guy who was prepared to answer the salary negotiation question with, “I’ll take $100 a year less than my closest competitor for this job.” The tale is likely anecdotal, but you get the idea about being aware of your compeition…He-cession, SHE-shoring, and all.

Kindly share your SHE-Shoring or He-cession story or comments with this job coaching community!

America’s Job Coach
Author, “Laid Off & Loving It for 2010”

Two Girls For Every Boy!

In 1963, the song Surf City¬†was recorded by a¬†young, feel-good¬†band named¬†The Beach Boys.¬† It¬†was the number one song on Billboard¬† Magazine‘s Top 100 (according to www.Wikipedia.com).¬† Some¬†people who are ‘Over-50 Types’ might even remember when the song hit gold.¬†

What a fun concept for¬†millions (of especially young men)¬†to think about — a place¬†where the girls may have worn¬†an Itsy¬†Bitsy Teenie Weenie¬†Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, AND¬†there were also¬†two¬†girls¬†for every one boy!¬†¬†Wow! ¬†

First Wave Boomers were not alone in their indoctrination to this song however. It went on to be enjoyed by millions more who were born later and grew up hearing it at wedding dances and theme parties for decades to come. Throngs (not thongs!) of youth heard it for dozens of years and it became a part of culture.

Fast forward 45 years or so. Instead of ‘Two Girls for Every Boy,‘ now we have “Six Seekers For Every Job.”

A recent¬†editorial by Paul Krugman of The New York Times¬†included the statistic that¬†we are now seeing¬†six job seekers¬†pursuing every one available job.¬† That doesn’t sound near as much fun as Two Girls for Every Boy.¬†This level of competition for work looks like it is going to be with us awhile. It may become part of our culture…

If you are stuck in a job you don’t like, or you are out of work, that culture thought might¬†be depressing.¬† Don’t let it bring you down!¬† Three out of five 50-something laid off people I know¬†have recently found jobs! Collectively, they were competing¬†against hundreds of other job seekers. But, they¬†managed to land something despite the long odds.¬†¬†¬†

But the numbers are still the numbers.¬†We are probably stuck in a¬†“hot mess” with regard to optimal employment for at least the forseeable future.¬†So what do you do?

A short answer is similar to what you may have heard already. If your line of work is clogged¬†with too many competitors for too few jobs, you may need to reinvent yourself. This topic is addressed in many, many good books out there so I won’t go into detail. The short version is this:

  • Take what you know better than anyone else, repackage it, remold it, add a new, big dash of passion to it,¬† get someone smarter than you to review your efforts, and give it a whirl.¬†
  • Maybe you¬†now can become¬†a consultant to your former industry, or to a niche you have followed for a long time?¬†Maybe you can boldly approach your former employer with a new¬†“value-add” proposition or TwitterVator Speech?¬†Maybe the time is finally getting close where you can turn your hobby¬†into a small business?

I won’t expand much here, but instead¬†invite readers to¬†comment. Free job coaching¬†by¬†this blog’s participants¬†may¬†be¬†helpful if you are struggling with how¬†to reinvent yourself.¬†But you have to be¬†willing to ask for the help…

Let this group help to conquer your career crisis as you work to catch that perfect career wave and land your surfboard on an ideal beach of a job! 

Maybe comments by this¬†blog’s readers¬†will lead to¬†Two Jobs for Every Boy (and Girl)!

Surf’s Up!

America’s Job Coach

 

Did He Get the Job? Also, Job Posting Scams

In my last post I discussed a young man who was interviewing for his first job out of college. The job was for a sales position and he was wondering if in fact the niche he was exploring was good for him. I mentioned  how some industries in the current economy are looking for people like him: young, techno savvy, moldable and cheap. 

None of that is new news to you who are “decades into” your careers and maybe months into your job search. Employers are flooded with applicants and some are taking advantage of that. There was an article in the Omaha World Herald on 10/26/09 which described how formerly hard to fill hands on care giver jobs were now doing just fine due to some factory closings in a Nebraska community. Before some jobs in that town vaporized, the health care facility had a hard time staffing these positions. Now it has a surplus of applicants. Ah, perspective.

Perspective is what the young job seeker had too. He was “wax” just ready to be molded by his potentially future employer. He didn’t have an entitlement attitude and his small dose of arrogance was more attributable to his youth than any entrenched “in your face” cockiness.

Yes, his potential employer wants him back for some “job shadowing.” That is where our young applicant will sit and listen to the current staff while they make their daily spate of phone calls. Not just anyone or everyone can sit in a cubicle and make 70+¬† phone call attempts a day. I don’t know if our young hero will want to but that employer has invited him to find out if he wants to. And there is¬†a fairly handsome base-plus-commissions to go along with it. I’ll keep you posted on his progress. And keep remembering his child-like interview exuberance while you do your job hunting.

Speaking of commissions, I saw a listing¬†of “The Top Twenty Most Helpful Job Hunting Websites” or some such similar title the other day. I immediately thought that would be a logical link for this blog. And of course, I clicked through on many of the web sites listed.

Well, you won’t see me linking to that list anytime soon. I found many sites I had never heard of. And the ones toward the top of the list had many “jobs” posted. The problem was, most of these “jobs” were work at home schemes. Nothing wrong with working at home…millions of people around the world work for thousands of legitimate companies in a remote fashion. Online technology allows and encourages that.

But so many of the “jobs” posted were all about multi-level marketing businesses. Many have an investment required or involved some marginally shady types of plans. The rise of this kind of “noise” out there has tracked and kept pace with the rise in the number of unemployed.

I have nothing against legitimate multi-level businesses. I have been involved in some in the past myself and have learned from them. I am just saying use caution when you “apply” for jobs within this world. Most are not jobs with a regular paycheck. Growing your own business is great but just know what you are getting into when you start. Will your new “job” require you to buy¬†inventory?

Have any of this blog’s readers ventured into this area?¬† Again I have no problem with these legitimate marketing businesses but I do dislike it when these outfits dress themselves as “jobs” on what were formerly job boards. Who has a story to share on this?…

Next posting will be about a 50-something “coachee” who was recently laid off, DOES know a lot of people to network with, but is stuck in the 1990’s regarding using those contacts.

America’s Job Coach

Author: Laid Off & Loving It For 2010

But I Get No Feedback From Employers!

The 50 Over 50 Project is a “Community of Career Transition Advice” for¬†people over¬†50 years old over a 50 week period.

Put your summarized career dilemma in the comments section so the group can offer their tips to you!

Here is a gentleman who appears to have some good ideas about self marketing and follow up.  His advice applies to all ages.  

Please come back after you watch and tell the community what you think!  Thanks to www.jayobi.com for making this available!

Paul M. America’s Job Coach¬† www.americasjobcoach.com

 Here is the link for the video: 

 Step 4. Contacting Employers.

I hope YOUR follow ups are positive!

The Dow is at 10,000…Who Cares?

The 50 Over 50 Project is a¬†‚ÄĚCommunity of Career Advice‚Ä̬†¬† ¬†¬†for¬†50 folks over¬†age¬†50 who are in a¬†career transition.¬†¬†

Summarize YOUR career dilemma in a comment below to gain job hunt pointers from this blog community. 

So the Dow Jones Industrial Average got over the psychological barrier of 10,000 points last week. I wonder if it will go to 11,000 this week?  Probably not. But do people care?

Well, I do care actually. And the investments of millions of people as well as the well-being of millions of companies across this great land do care.  So why the headline above? 

Last weekend, Seth Rogan of the Weekend Update skit on the perennial  Saturday Night Live TV show perhaps summarized the feeling of millions: Rogan mentioned how the Dow broke 10,000 and how 15 million unemployed people at home, in their pajamas in the middle of the day, who were eating Twinkies, cheered with delight. 

That isn’t a perfect quote but you get the idea. The talk is that the recession will end and the¬†recovery will occur sometime in the next month to the next two years (it depends upon who you listen to).¬† I don’t know who to believe but Seth was right: Recovery or not, too many people are still stuck unemployed or underemployed and know the NBC TV schedule way too well.

If the Dow goes to 20,000 and there are still 6 people for every 1 open job out there, the unemployed just won’t care what the stock market looks like.¬†Granted jobs are always a lagging indicator during a recovery¬†because firms want to be sure things are improving before they add to their payrolls again.¬†

And the most strategic unemployed people WILL care about the stock market and the recovery. Because we attract what we expect into our life. And if we stay negative, we’ll keep getting negative.¬†

How about you? Do you think the economy is picking up out there and that there are more jobs now that the Dow Jones Industrial Average has reached this level? Or do you feel¬†stuck on main street despite¬†Wall Street’s success?

Share your thoughts below and keep the faith!

Paul M.

America’s Job¬†Coach ¬†