Insider Career Strategies Wishes You A Happy Thanksgiving!

iStockphoto.com (DenBoma)

iStockphoto.com (DenBoma)

 

I have a confession. I don't particularly enjoy eating turkey – in my opinion it's not very tasty, and roasting a whole turkey leaves your kitchen smelling for days. The grease gets everywhere. And just look at that bird - it's got a face that only a mother could love.

On the other hand, I love Thanksgiving, which we Americans commemorate by getting together with friends and family, eating lots of great foods other than turkey, and watching football (my wife is from Detroit, so catching the Lions is a must). And while it sounds trite, it's also a great time to reflect upon and give thanks for all the good things in our lives.

Although work is a major part of our lives, for many individuals Thanksgiving offers a professional respite. For better or for worse, many people take vacations from Thanksgiving until January 2, so if you're on the hunt for a new career opportunity this is generally the time when hiring managers aren't in the office and when many accounting departments put in place hiring freezes to tighten the P&L for Q4. In other words, if you get called for an interview or are extended a job offer during late November or December, you're the exception. But don't be surprised if you don't get many calls during the end of the year.

That said, if you're looking for a job, this is a fantastic time to polish up your resume and LinkedIn profile in preparation for the new year when hiring typically opens back up. And don't hesitate to apply for positions right now. There are also fewer people applying since they're in holiday mode, so the competition is a little bit lighter. And if a company really, really needs to fill a job, you will get a call – holidays or not.

And for those of you with retail, service, or other positions who are required to leave Thanksgiving dinner early to head to work, you have my heartfelt sympathy.


Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.

Fantastic Ways To Screw Up A Job Interview

iStockphoto.com (Credit:SIphotography)

iStockphoto.com (Credit:SIphotography)

 

Back in my recruiting days, I once had a hiring manager say to me about people he interviewed for jobs: "If it's not 'yes,' it's 'no.'"

In other words, unless the candidate made a truly great impression during the interview, they probably weren't getting the job. And trust me, it's really, really easy to introduce doubt about a candidate into the process. Managers are always looking for reasons to say 'no' - because it's a lot easier than taking a risk on somebody who's less than perfect. It's not fair, but it's reality. Here are some fantastic ways I've personally seen interviewees sabotage their chances.

  • Showing up late.
     
  • Leaving your cell phone on – and it rings during the interview. Extra points for stopping the interview to answer it.
     
  • Checking your phone's messages during the interview.
     
  • Being visibly sick during the interview. Seriously, reschedule the interview; you won't impress anyone with your dedication, and you may gross them out by coughing on them.
     
  • Sending "thank you" notes afterward to some interviewers and not others.
     
  • Asking no questions during the interview. You'll appear bored.
     
  • Asking stupid questions. Yes, there is such a thing as a stupid question. Especially dull, obviously improvised questions which clearly illustrate you didn't prepare.
     
  • Bringing up salary before they do.
     
  • Swearing. This isn't limited to the 7 words you can't say on television. If you wouldn't say it in front of your sweet, old grandmother, don't say it in the interview.
     
  • Not dressing up for the interview. Business casual usually applies after you've gotten the job.
     
  • Taking bathroom breaks during the interview. Repeatedly.
     
  • Calling the interviewer "dude."
     
  • Behaving nicely to the hiring manager, and rude to Human Resources.
     
  • Giving varying answers to different interviewers asking the same interview question. Trust me, they'll compare notes.
     
  • Having bad breath. It's a bad idea to eat a tuna fish sandwich with onions just before your meeting. Oh, and remember to use deodorant, too.
     
  • Hitting on an interviewer.
     
  • Lying. Probing questions can flesh out dishonest information pretty quickly.
     
  • Badmouthing your current or former employer.

I'm sure I'm missing a few beauties. Feel free to send me your favorite examples – if I get enough, I'll include them in a future article!


Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.

7 Job Search Strategies for Military Veterans Transitioning to the Civilian Sector

iStockphoto (videodet)

iStockphoto (videodet)

 

The transition for members of the armed forces ending their service can be challenging, and the job search has its own unique challenges. Here are seven job search strategies for military veterans making a move to the civilian sector after their enlistment.

  1. Minimize the military speak. Members of the armed services have their own lingo when describing their work. In the United States, approximately 7.3% of all living Americans served in the military; conversely, 92.7% of all living Americans spent zero time in the service. So when writing your resume or in an interview, try to remember that unless you're applying for a job at an organization whose primary customer is the military, it's unlikely the recruiter or hiring manager is going to understand the military terminology.
     
  2. Translate your work into readily understandable tasks and responsibilities. When building your resume, think about the elements of your work which can be readily understood by an employer. When describing the work you did on preparing a unit for deployment overseas, for example, it can be beneficial to break down your leadership on specific tasks you performed in the areas of logistics, project management, human resources, and so forth. Or maybe you worked on preparing the technology for that same deployment – detail the types of networks you built, listing specific technologies. These will enhance the readability of the resume and better highlight your skills, and the additional keywords will improve your chances of making it through the employer's applicant tracking system.
     
  3. Focus on your leadership skills. There's a significant difference between giving orders and leading. Companies are getting flatter, meaning fewer levels of management and less clear lines of reporting. Employers generally want to hire individuals who have a demonstrated ability to inspire and influence, as well as manage day-to-day tasks. What you've managed is less important than how you've managed, and examples of how you built consensus and worked across organizational lines to achieve results will showcase your ability to thrive in complex environments.
     
  4. Readjust your mindset. I'm going to let my friend A.J. Yolofsky, an attorney who made the adjustment from life in the Marine Corps, explain his transition experience. "The transition from military to civilian can be challenging because we military members are used to a different organizational structure and culture than necessarily exists in the civilian world. The military’s hierarchical structure provides a fallback method of getting things done – someone more senior can always “order” a junior to do X. On the civilian side, rank or seniority are sometimes held by people with no formal title or who are technically “junior” in the organization (e.g. executive assistants or other support personnel.) Learning civilian organizational behavior theory can be a way to differentiate yourself from other former military candidates. Some books that are helpful for this are "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," by Stephen Covey; "How to Win Friends and Influence People," by Dale Carnegie; and "The Trusted Advisor," by David Maister. All are on my shelf and have helped me make the transition from Marine to civilian."
     
  5. Get to know the job boards. In addition to mainstream job boards such as Monster, CareerBuilder, Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and others, there are boards directed  at military veterans such as VetJobs and RecruitMilitary. Many employers specifically want vets due to their connection to the defense industry, or for their work ethic – you'll find them here.
     
  6. Remind employers that it can be cost effective to hire you. First, there's a final move benefit which the U.S. military retirees can use to relocate for free anywhere within the United States upon retirement, which can mitigate an employer's concerns about incurring substantial cost to move you (corporate moves can be very expensive). Likewise, employers may be eligible for tax credits for hiring veterans under certain circumstances.
     
  7. Know your rights. In the United States, U.S. military veterans enjoy several protections against employment discrimination, including under the the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). A good employment attorney can help you understand your rights under these laws and others.

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.