Many job seekers mistakenly believe that because corporations and organizations are closing their headquarters for the holidays, they are suspending their search for candidates for jobs they posted a month ago. Nothing could be further from the truth!
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Kitty Boitnott, Ph.D., NBCT is a former educator turned Career Transition and Job Strategy Coach specializing in working with teachers who are experiencing the painful symptoms of job burnout. She also works with mid-career professionals from all walks of life who find themselves at a career crossroads either by chance or by choice. Learn more about Kitty at TeachersinTransition.com.
Halloween is here! The chill is in the air. The leaves are turning on the trees. Bags of candy of every description practically fall off the shelves into your basket as you wind your way through the grocery store.
And everyone—especially the kids—has their Halloween costumes picked out. Halloween isn't just for children, though.
Check The Policy<div style="width:100%;height:0;padding-bottom:56%;position:relative;"><iframe src="https://giphy.com/embed/xT9KVeCUuPX8ELnbl6" width="100%" height="100%" style="position:absolute" frameBorder="0" class="giphy-embed" allowFullScreen></iframe></div><p><a href="https://giphy.com/gifs/filmeditor-mean-girls-movie-xT9KVeCUuPX8ELnbl6">via GIPHY</a></p><p>If you are <a href="https://www.workitdaily.com/stand-out-new-job" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">new to the company</a>, check out what the policy is around celebrating Halloween at work. </p><p>It may not even be allowed, and you don't want to show up as the only one in costume looking foolish, or worse—having to go home to change. </p>
Make Sure Your Costume Is Tasteful<div style="width:100%;height:0;padding-bottom:49%;position:relative;"><iframe src="https://giphy.com/embed/l0MYCtjgubUftEA9i" width="100%" height="100%" style="position:absolute" frameBorder="0" class="giphy-embed" allowFullScreen></iframe></div><p><a href="https://giphy.com/gifs/nbc-halloween-the-office-l0MYCtjgubUftEA9i">via GIPHY</a></p><p>If costumes are allowed or even encouraged, use good taste. </p><p>Be clever, but not ghoulish. Be original. Think of something you can put together from things you have at home. You don't need to spend a fortune to have a clever costume.</p>
Decorate Your Office<div style="width:100%;height:0;padding-bottom:55%;position:relative;"><iframe src="https://giphy.com/embed/3o7TKVfudQdVFv5BJu" width="100%" height="100%" style="position:absolute" frameBorder="0" class="giphy-embed" allowFullScreen></iframe></div><p><a href="https://giphy.com/gifs/3o7TKVfudQdVFv5BJu">via GIPHY</a></p><p>If you can add to the festivities by <a href="https://www.workitdaily.com/office-decor-guide" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">decorating your office</a> (or your desk) with something that is seasonally appropriate, do that as long as it falls within your workplace policy.</p><p>This gets your office more into the holiday spirit, and it gives you the chance to show off your personality!</p>
Don't Go Crazy With The Celebration<div style="width:100%;height:0;padding-bottom:56%;position:relative;"><iframe src="https://giphy.com/embed/kFkUMDdaJExh9VGHmQ" width="100%" height="100%" style="position:absolute" frameBorder="0" class="giphy-embed" allowFullScreen></iframe></div><p><a href="https://giphy.com/gifs/hulu-scary-spooky-huluween-kFkUMDdaJExh9VGHmQ">via GIPHY</a></p><p>Make sure you aren't the one who goes "too far" in celebrating Halloween. Use good judgment around everything you say and do around the holiday.</p>
Put Candy Out For Your Co-Workers<div style="width:100%;height:0;padding-bottom:56%;position:relative;"><iframe src="https://giphy.com/embed/d30q1gj7Mt99CXU4" width="100%" height="100%" style="position:absolute" frameBorder="0" class="giphy-embed" allowFullScreen></iframe></div><p><a href="https://giphy.com/gifs/snl-saturday-night-live-season-43-d30q1gj7Mt99CXU4">via GIPHY</a></p><p>If you are in a position to have candy on your desk or in an area where people can help themselves, it might be appreciated. Make sure the candy is the type that is individually wrapped, though. Also, make sure you're cautious of any <a href="https://www.workitdaily.com/managing-food-allergies-at-work" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">food allergies</a> in the office.</p><p>Putting candy out helps you celebrate Halloween, but it could also help you get to know your co-workers better. They could stop by your desk, have a piece of candy, and chat for a minute or two. </p>
Interviewing is nerve-wracking even in the best of circumstances. If you feel like you're under a microscope, it's because you are! Employers want to make sure that you can do the job. But, just as importantly, they want to determine if you can fit in with their team.
Likeability is an intangible component of your interview, so how do you ensure that you come across as likeable as well as competent? What do you do when your interview isn't going in the right direction?
They Didn't Have A Good Reaction To Your Success Stories<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMTEzNDI4MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNzQzNzI2OH0.iOJVZJn7pL7NXQvP649WqwW7HAm5wBx0vjlk3MjkKWQ/img.jpg?width=980" id="f0545" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="399b255b2bfcce0fef51f2857f7e1e3d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Job candidate realizing interview isn't going well" /><p>You may have a story of a success that in the past has gotten nods of approval or smiles from your interviewer(s). If you tell the same story with the same zest, and you don't get the same or similar reaction, it may mean that they aren't listening, or they didn't get the point of the story or missed the importance of the success. It could be a sign that you have <a href="https://www.workitdaily.com/ways-to-connect-interview" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">failed to connect with the interviewer(s)</a> from the start, and they aren't as attentive as you need them to be to get why you are the most-qualified candidate.</p>
They Seemed Bored And Distracted<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMTEzNDI4Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MzE3NDM2M30.wFumiuD1BB_ok454dfxkOTywnpHNdyNHYm1seuQ7OSI/img.jpg?width=980" id="671c9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="481d5251d5f205a6af980f1437cbe16d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Interviewers seem bored and distracted during a job interview" /><p>If the interviewers keep looking at their phone or computer screen, they may be displaying their lack of interest in what you have to say, or they may just be distracted by something that is going on that is taking precedence over your interview. Perhaps they are monitoring an emergency situation, but they can't or don't share that with you. Or perhaps they have just decided that they aren't going to hire you, so nothing you say will make a difference. Again, they are just going through the motions.</p><p>Without being rude yourself, there is little you can do to get them to pay attention to you unless you manage to get their attention with a witty remark or a humorous story. Everyone usually responds to humor if it is well-delivered and natural. Not everyone can pull that off, however, and it is especially <a href="https://www.workitdaily.com/how-to-overcome-interview-anxiety" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">challenging if you are nervous</a>.</p>
They Didn't Tell You About Next Steps Or Ask If You Have Questions For Them<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMTEzNDI4NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTU5OTg5MzU3Mn0.YroBEFZpIH6Ijpi1kVm3zFK30yHYdMzMVCm-S1QBrus/img.jpg?width=980" id="2fcb8" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8782501f74339d85134f27700a9fdd58" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Interview didn't go well for a job seeker" /><p>If the interview has gone badly, interviewers won't ask if you have any <a href="https://www.workitdaily.com/questions-to-ask-job-interview" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">questions for them</a>, and they won't offer what the next steps will be. If you ask and they seem vague or reluctant to tell you by when they expect to fill the job, that is another sign that you probably aren't going to be considered as one of the finalists.</p><p>Sometimes circumstances are just out of your control, and there is nothing you can do to save an interview that isn't going well. As a post interview exercise, you should consider from hello to goodbye how you believe you performed and what the reactions of your interviewer(s) were. Did you fail to prepare properly? Did you practice well enough beforehand that you were able to contain your nerves? Were you prepared with the right kind of answers to the questions you were asked? Were you concise in your responses or did you ramble? Did you keep to the issue of your ability to do the job or did you veer off into the personal and wind up sharing too much?</p><p>If the interview has obviously gone bad and you are pretty sure you aren't going to receive an offer, chalk it up to good experience and move on. Learn from the experience. Avoid blaming the entire situation on the interviewer(s). Perhaps you could have done something to engage their interest and change their minds about you during the interview. <strong>Take responsibility for your performance and try to figure out how you can improve moving forward.</strong> Learn from your mistakes, adjust your approach if necessary, and move on. Perhaps that job wasn't the best one for you anyway. Maybe not getting that job is a good thing. It frees you up for a better opportunity which may be just around the corner.</p>
Landing your first job right out of school can be a tricky business. What if you can't find something that you think you would enjoy and is in alignment with your degree? What if time starts to run out and you need a job, like right now?
Why Your First Job Matters<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMDUwNDk4Mi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MzUwMDAyNn0.JHxnFZG-cZGIO9hkJikvTscM0KLpOhnZVVE2fyXm_s8/img.jpg?width=980" id="5cd17" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="74b3f824636b620bc84318b577da4d61" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p>Recently, I spoke with a young woman who is 25 years old. She has a degree in communications and PR, but she said that while she was still in school, she had decided that she hated everything about PR.</p><p>It was "too late to change [her] major," she said, so she stuck with it. Now, as a relatively recent graduate, she has a degree that is useless to her because she hates what the degree says she can do.</p><p>Between the time she graduated and now, she has been working as an administrative assistant, and she didn't like that either, so she quit.</p><p>When I asked her what she was going to do next, she indicated that she was thinking of getting her license as a Realtor. In the meantime, she would be taking over some extra shift work at her second job, and she would probably do some odds jobs to pay the rent and her other expenses until she settles on something.</p><p>I didn't get the impression that this smart young woman had any real idea what she wanted to do. She did say she wanted to do something "meaningful," and I don't know where getting her realtor's license fits in with that, but perhaps she truly has a passion around helping people buy homes that wasn't readily apparent during our conversation.</p><p>The thing that was apparent to me is that she is<strong> adrift with no real sense of direction or purpose</strong>, and the more odd jobs and temporary gigs she takes, the more <strong>difficult</strong> it will be for a future employer to take her seriously as a candidate.</p><p>Even if she were to figure out tomorrow what she wants to do for the next few years, she would have a challenging time of it working up a resume that would get her the job unless she knew someone who was able to give her a fantastic recommendation.</p><p>The point of all of this is that <strong>you need to have some sort of plan</strong>, and you need to keep the following <strong>five things in mind before accepting your first job</strong> unless you want to be derailed before you have even gotten started.</p>
1. Create a 5-year plan.<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ff0c306478f8bff5190d7543e53b8e90"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wj-TckhdbrU?start=50&rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><em>Everyone</em> at every stage of life should have a 5-year plan. You don't have to expect that everything on the plan will pan out exactly as planned, but as with anything in life, if you don't have a plan, you are going to wind up spinning your wheels.</p><p>Benjamin Franklin said, "If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail." So, even if you aren't sure you will be able to follow through on everything in your plan, at least create one.</p><p><strong>Having a sense of where you want to be in 5 years will simplify some of the decisions you have to make now.</strong></p><p>For example, ask yourself: "If I take this job now, will it set me on the course I need and want to be on if I stick with my 5-year plan?" If the answer is "yes," then you continue to consider taking the job. If the answer is "no," unless there are other extenuating circumstances, you should probably turn the job down.</p>
2. Consider the longer term trajectory starting with your first job.<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMDUwNDk4Ni9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NjA5NDA4NX0.L7yWYX4zyobomvlwGIoQbuBtLBNmWrKdpmhemYcGls4/img.jpg?width=980" id="9eaeb" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e94b089fb483634c19ed207a438f3349" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p>This consideration is an extension of the first one. <strong>Whatever decisions you make now concerning your career will likely have an impact on what happens to you moving forward.</strong></p><p>My first job, for example, was one I took out of a sense of desperation. I felt tremendous pressure from my parents who wanted me to be gainfully employed so I could have health insurance. Back in those days, you had 60 days to find something or you were kicked off your parents' plan, and you were out of luck.</p><p>This was hammered into me by my mother who worked for the state and carried the insurance plan for the family. She was determined that I would not go one day without insurance, and back then there were fewer options available than there are today. You were either insured by your employer, or you didn't have insurance unless you had money to pay for a single-payer policy.</p><p>So, I took the first job that was offered to me even though it wasn't with the district I wanted, and it required a 40-mile commute one way. I was lucky in that I was able to get a job with the district I wanted to work for a year later, but if that hadn't happened, I might still be living in a rural area not far from where I grew up. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but that wasn't what I wanted.</p><p><strong>Know what you want</strong> and consider the consequences of settling for something less before you make a decision out of desperation.</p>
3. Create a list of the pros and cons of taking this particular job as your first job.<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMDUwNDk5NC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwMTE0OTU5OX0.4jUXngvZvoX0Ny0HbKcrAm8u3Zs3YJgMifzpxfqz4_Y/img.jpg?width=980" id="65032" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1beebf2a7aa2d56851e99e2c0da8ee16" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p>I recommend that you list the reasons for taking the job, and then list the reasons not to take the job. Which list is longer? How bad are the cons? How good are the pros?</p><p>Weigh that list <strong>carefully</strong>, and let it guide you toward making the right decision.</p>
4. Remember that it is your life…and your decision.<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMDUwNTAwMy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyODE3MTA4OH0.I40tvqO2AxDJF1B3yBptB0eB_5dUnHBZ2UIC0vxYH9s/img.jpg?width=980" id="af305" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b76d7488579825d8b4140ae388731a7a" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p>Your parents, friends, and other relatives love you, and they want to see you happy and settled. Resist their efforts to rush you into making a decision, however. If you let them pressure you, and you wind up making a mistake, <em>you </em>will be the one who pays for it in the long run.</p><p>Resist their good intentions and listen to your own counsel—your gut or your inner intuition—in making a decision about whether this job is <strong>right for you or not.</strong></p>
5. Ask the right questions before you take any job.<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="486043a07fbaf0e6bf0a7ac6584a7cf1"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Y95eI-ek_E8?start=75&rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>When you are offered a job, that is not the end of the conversation; it is only the beginning.</p><p>Be prepared to ask a lot of questions before saying, "yes." You are making a momentous decision, and you can't afford it make it lightly.</p><p>Craft a list of questions about the expectations of your employer, ask about benefits and perks. Make sure the salary is one you can live on and don't be afraid to ask if you can negotiate some details before you say "yes." You will appear to be less desperate <em>and </em>more professional to the people who are hiring you. To the extent that you can, know what you are getting into, and know that you can deal with it before accepting the offer. Also, get as much of the terms of your employment in writing as you can.</p><p>Accepting your first job right out of college is a big deal, and it can make <strong>the difference between setting you on the career path you want for yourself or creating a detour from which you may never fully recover</strong>. Know as much as you can about the job before saying "yes." You will be glad you did.</p>
Few people love developing an "elevator pitch" even though they may recognize their need for one and the importance of having a well-crafted one. I volunteer for a group of job seekers who meet every week, and no one enjoys the process of introducing themselves to a roomful of strangers. In fact, I know that some people try to sneak in after they think the introductions will be over, or they skip the meeting altogether rather than struggle through a 30-second self-introduction to a room full of self-appointed critics. Related: How To Perfect Your Elevator Pitch The urban myth about how the elevator pitch first originated is that in the early studio days, a Hollywood screenwriter would catch an unsuspecting studio executive in the elevator. Trapped, with nowhere else to go, the screenwriter had between 30 to 118 seconds to "pitch" his idea to the studio's top decision-maker. Today, you aren’t pitching an idea for a screenplay. For you, the stakes involve your next great break in your career. If you are on the job market, you need to develop a "pitch-perfect elevator pitch." Your pitch must be compelling to the point of making you seem different from everyone else. Additionally, it must be delivered with earnest sincerity and not sound like it has been rehearsed in front of your mirror a thousand times—even though it may have (and should have) been rehearsed in front of you a thousand times or more. My elevator pitch has changed and evolved hundreds of times (literally) in the last three years since I began my odyssey as a career transition and job search coach. As a result, I am particularly sensitive to the challenges that new job seekers experience when trying to craft their pitch. Don't beat up on yourself if you find this particular task daunting. Everyone does. That does not take you off the hook, however. You must come up with a clear, concise, compelling and persuasive elevator pitch or networking introduction if you need to traverse the job search terrain. Here are some suggestions that will help you craft your own unique and compelling pitch.
Changing jobs represents a unique set of challenges, but changing a career can feel like a daunting task depending on the level of education you may have invested in or the amount of experience you have racked up. (Are you being SHUT OUT of the hiring process? Watch this free webinar to find out) In spite of those challenges, however, the time does come for some when the writing is on the wall. You realize you aren't happy anymore in the career of first choice, and it is time to assess what you might be able to do to transition into another line of work. Here are what I would offer are four distinct signs that you are not only ready to change careers, but you need to change before your health or your primary relationships suffer any more.
I recently met a man at a networking event for job seekers who introduced himself to the group by saying his name and then adding, "I am not sure what I am looking for… but I am looking for something… I think." I was intrigued by his lack of clarity, so after the meeting, I engaged him in a conversation. Related: Why Finding Your Passion Isn’t A Pass/Fail Exam As we talked, it became apparent that this gentleman had had a number of different jobs over the course of his working career. He started out as a teenager bagging groceries at the local Safeway, working at a job that his dad gotten for him before he had even started to think about going to work. He enjoyed it, he said. When he went on to college, he worked as a manager of a flower shop, as a professional photographer, and as a newspaper reporter, among other things about which he was a little less forthcoming. Recently, he had been volunteering as a tutor in some of the nearby schools. "I've enjoyed everything I have ever done," he said to me. "I don't get all the hype about ‘finding your passion' and ‘doing what you love,'" he added. "I have never felt like I ‘loved' anything I was doing. I was ‘okay' with whatever I was doing at the time." Thank goodness this gentleman didn't fall into the category of the 70% of people who say they either hate their jobs or are totally disengaged in them. On the other hand, he hasn't found anything that he could say he loved to do with an absolute passion, either. This gentleman is seeking something that he simply hasn't yet found. He hasn't discovered his life mission. It is bugging him, too, which is why he doesn't get the "hype" about something that feels alien to him. If it weren't bugging him, I don't think he would be so dismissive of it as "hype." There are whole books written on the subject of finding your life mission. The gentleman with whom I was conversing mentioned the book, What Color is Your Parachute? but that is only one of hundreds of thousands of books on the specific topic of life purpose. In an Amazon search, I found 66,000 titles of books that popped up in response to the keywords, "life mission." There are almost 250,000 titles that are related to the keywords, "life purpose!" A lot of people have explored ideas regarding life mission and life purpose. It also means that there are a lot of people who are searching for one or both of those things. Alan Cohen, in I Had It All the Time, says that our highest purpose is to "be happy." Specifically, he says, "Your joy is the greatest contribution you can make to life on the planet. A heart at peace with its owner blesses everyone it touches." I believe that your life mission is whatever you feel in your heart of hearts that you are supposed to be doing with your life. Most of us already know this truth on some level. The problem stems from being told that we can't make any money doing what we feel we are supposed to do. Finding a job that "pays the bills" and has “good benefits” becomes the priority instead of finding a job that allows the space for us express ourselves. As a result, we are left with the feeling that there is more that we could be doing to contribute "to life on the planet" in a positive and productive way. I know we all have bills to pay, and I am not suggesting that everyone who is reading this post at this moment go in and quit their job this morning if it is a job that merely pays the bills and doesn't light up their soul. On the other hand, if you are simply going through the motions at work and not getting some sort of joy or a sense of fulfillment out of what you are doing, you might seriously consider making a change in the not-so-distant future. I believe that life is too short to live it doing something about which we don't feel good. Take a look at your priorities and consider what you love, love, love to do and what you would do if you could make money doing it. Consider whether you can do that instead of what you are currently doing. It means having the courage to make a change, perhaps, but I repeat… life is too short to spend it doing something that you don't enjoy doing… period. This post was originally published at an earlier date.
Recruiters look at dozens of resumes a day. If they see something they don’t like, your resume could wind up in the “no” pile in just seconds. Here are a few tips to help make sure that your resume will stand out from all of the other people applying for the same job.