Take Time to Assess Your Career

March 29, 2017

Many people think it’s time to change jobs or careers only after a bomb drops on them such as a bad review or in danger of being downsized. Don’t wait until you’re in a desperate situation to make a life changing decision. Instead, take time to assess your career often in order to see where it’s going.

According to the Wall Street Journal (Wednesday February 15, 2017), assessing your job should be done on a quarterly basis and be considered a “Fitness Plan for Your Career.” It’s less daunting than creating a 10 or 20-year career road map and consists of small steps rather than large leaps. The WSJ suggests you:

  • Take stock of what’s working well in your career and what’s not
  • Ask yourself what you could add or change on your current job to do more of what you want
  • Consider learning new skills trying freelance gigs as a way to discover new positions
  • Keep a career journal to help you recall details of your skills and accomplishments
  • Build your reputation by writing or speaking publicly about new developments in your field
  • Expand your network beyond past and present colleagues to include others in your field, industry and region

If after creating the fitness plan, you decide that you definitely want and need a change, don’t be reckless about it. Try to follow these key steps:

  • Know what you want.  What does the new job or career look like? What doesn’t it look like? Will you be able to leverage your current skills for a successful transition?
  • Find out what it takes. In order to transfer into a new role or field, will you need additional training, education or certifications?
  • You still have to eat and live.  Will this new position pay enough to cover the rent/mortgage and put food on the table? Does it fit with your family life and lifestyle?
  • Create a plan. Put together a timeline of what you need to do and by when. You will need a financial plan as well. Don’t try to just wing it without the proper planning.
  • Shift your brand. Change your resume, online presence and profile so they make sense to your new target audience that you’re trying to reach.  Make sure they “get” you and your aspirations.
  • Network. Network. Network. You need to get to know the influencers and successful people in your new field. Ask people you know for introductions to them. Also, find out what associations they are members of.  Spend time on LinkedIn, Twitter or their company website to obtain more information and make connections.

Your career is one of the most important assets you will manage in your life. Therefore, you have to give it the proper time and attention it deserves. It’s in your best interest to take stock every quarter to make sure your career is still on track and if it’s still what you want.

Candidate Emotions to Consider when Making a Hire

July 13, 2016

By Matthew Cohen, Energy & Sustainability Practice Leader

When a hiring manager makes an offer to a candidate, they think about a number of factors such as salary, benefits, start date, counteroffers and a multitude of statistical information to put an offer together for a prospective employee.  In many cases, hiring managers get lost in the numbers when making an offer to a candidate and don’t focus on the emotional side of a job change. Most of us think of a candidate making a job change as simply changing a line item on their resume when in reality any time a candidate makes a job change they are also making a significant life change as well.  This life change brings with it a number of emotions and thoughts to consider when hiring a new employee.

Below are three emotional changes that hiring managers need to consider before making an offer to a candidate:

  1. Relationship with their current employer- It is important to understand their emotional connection with their current company and boss when making an offer to a candidate. Does the candidate have a personal relationship outside of work with their boss or fellow employees? This can be a key factor when a company makes a counteroffer to a candidate.  Often times, the counteroffer can be purely emotional which can be difficult to overcome.
  1. Candidate’s family thoughts- When making a life changing decision, we often look to our families and/or spouses for support and guidance. Asking a candidate what their family thinks about their decision to make a job change is crucial, especially if they respond by saying they have not told their family yet.  This can be a red flag and it should be encouraged to ask a candidate to tell their family of their decision, they may not always be on board.
  1. Revisiting the “Why”- Understanding why a candidate is making a job change is crucial when making an offer to said candidate.  We have established that making a job change is an emotional decision, therefore it is important to understand and underscore what has caused that person to make a change beyond just dollars and cents.  This can help in a counteroffer situation when you can revisit the emotions of why they were interviewing in the first place.

So while candidates express that changing jobs is exciting and challenging all at the same time, it can also be right up there with life’s highest stress factors such as moving, the birth of a child, new marriage, divorce, etc. Understanding the emotions your new hire is going through and helping them make a successful transition will pay off in spades.

For Millennials, Job Hopping is Normal by Barb Miller, Marketing Manager, DRI

Millennials, also known as GEN Y, were born between the years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s and are notorious job hoppers. Reports suggest they have a short attention span and the majority of this generation does not expect to stay with one employer for more than five years.

Companies are feeling the real costs of these job hoppers. Reported in the Chicago Tribune  30% of companies surveyed lost 15% or more of their Millennial employees in 2013; and 87% said it cost $15,000 to $25,000 to replace a former Millennial employee.

Is there any way to keep Millennials from walking out the door? Yes. But it may mean changing your company culture and/or implementing new and creative ways for employee retention.  Here are 5 suggestions:

1) Offer Job Hopping Opportunities Inside Your Company. Give Millennials an opportunity to have a wide range of experiences within your company. The ability to move between departments can lead to greater exposure and job fulfillment.

2) Leadership Development. Millennials pay close attention to whether their workplace offers leadership opportunities for them. Your company should develop and implement a variety of leadership programs that demonstrate a commitment to these young employees.

3) Mentorship Programs. Mentoring is very important to Millennials. Establishing an effective mentoring program is both a cost-effective means of facilitating connections, accelerate learning and send a positive message about their future with the company.

4) Current Technology. Millennials grew up with technology in their hands. They’re very comfortable with smart phones, IPads, Laptops, etc. and are keenly aware of the latest applications and improved mechanics. Make sure your company offers the state-of-the-art technology to help them work more efficiently and increase productivity levels.

5) Work/Life Balance. Millennials will work hard but want flexibility. Offer them remote connectivity and alternative work arrangements for community or family events. Also, offer a relaxed environment. It’s no coincidence that this generation admires the work environments of Google, Yahoo and Amazon. Gone are the days of wearing suits and ties as a more relaxed workplace is in.

If you’re a Millennial and change jobs often, please comment on how job hopping has been a positive for you.

When It’s Time to Leave Your Job

Do you feel like you’re shuffling off to work every day and that it should mean something more than a paycheck?  Is the spark gone? Then, maybe it’s time for you to change direction and look for a new job.

Every day at Direct Recruiters, we speak with active and passive candidates who are unhappy in their current positions and ready to make a move.   When we probe further and ask them to be more specific about why they’re unhappy and to pinpoint what they don’t like about their current job or company, we often hear the same reasons over and over again.

Can you relate to any of our top 6?

1)      Stagnation:  Feeling underutilized to the point of atrophy.  It’s a bad sign if you’re not being challenged and lose the stuff that makes you stand out professionally. To keep your skills honed, you need to use them often. If not, you’ll lose them and fall behind.

2)      Overwhelming Workload:  It’s normal to feel frazzled every so often but if you’re job has become too overpowering on a daily basis, it’s unhealthy.   Over the past several years, many of you have had to take on the work of 2 or more people.   Increased workloads mean heightened stress and high stress can lead to burnout.

3)      Bad Reputation of Company: According to a poll taken by CR Magazine in 2013, 69% of Americans would rather be unemployed than work for a company with a bad reputation.  Moreover, 84% would leave their current employer in a minute for a company with a favorable reputation.

4)      Sick of Broken Promises & Merit System:  If your boss routinely promises a raise and/or promotion but you get passed over each time, chances are you’re feeling disappointed and misled.  You realize there’s no growth in your current job. It won’t be long before you become totally disgruntled and on the chopping block.

5)      Inept Manager(s): It is often said that good employees don’t leave companies, they leave bad managers.  Bad manager practices deflate employee morale and in turn, mishandled employees stop caring about how well they perform their job and even become indifferent to company goals and objectives.

6)      Change in Family Circumstances:  A change in your personal life (marriage, having children, etc.) may make it necessary to find a new job because of location, finances or a need to spend more time at home.

Please share your story regarding how and when you knew it was time to look for a new job.