You know me. I don’t do warm and fuzzy when it comes to the job search or career changes. You see, I’m a big believer in you knowing the good, the bad and the ugly (with an emphasis on the latter 2) so that you can be prepared. Knowing what can come allows you to come up with a plan. Either a plan of how you will handle it, so that you can overcome these challenges. Or a plan of how you can mitigate these risks, so that they either pass you by or hit with a softer punch.
1. Ageism Exists
No one wants to believe it. Especially since it is ILLEGAL for companies and managers to discriminate you. But it does, I’ve seen it first hand. In a recent AARP survey they found that 48% of people over 50 have witnessed or experienced ageism.
This reverberates throughout the last decade or two of your career. Meaning that you’re more likely to be passed up for a promotion and definitely more likely to be laid off. Compounding the problem is that for individuals over 55, a job search takes longer due to pervading stereotypes preventing companies from requesting an interview or presenting an offer.
It also exists the other way too, there is a stereotype of millennials that has pervaded the thoughts of companies, especially ones that are holding on to their “traditional” culture. But it doesn’t just impact their ability to get a job but also impacts their salary as they make 20% less than Gen X and other generations did at the same age.
Want more? I did a Facebook Live about this very topic.
2. Most People Hate Their Jobs
52% of people hate their job. Every time I write that out I’m floored. I don’t know why it shocks me though since I spent 15 years in a career I didn’t like! It is hard to find true success and happiness in our careers and jobs if we don't like them.
This means we are less engaged, less productive and less everything. It has a detrimental impact on our feelings of self-worth.
So when you are finally ready to find that fulfilling career it is a little bit harder. Find ways to love the job you hate so that you can find the career you love.
3. Professional Ghosting is a Thing
It shouldn’t be a thing. But it is. And it is a two-way street, candidates ghosting companies and companies ghosting clients. In fact, CareerBuilder states that 75% of applicants never heard back from an employer during the job search!
It is so unprofessional on both ends. But instead of ranting, let’s talk what YOU can do about it.
Number 1, obviously, don’t ghost. If you change your mind or circumstances just let an interviewer know. Blacklisting can happen and you don’t want to take that chance.
Number 2, if you are ghosted. Follow-Up 2-3x max. If it really rankles you leave a negative review for them on Glassdoor. Then move on, you can’t let the negativity ruin your whole search!
4. Burn Out is on the Rise
Burn Out has gotten so bad that WHO has included it in its International Classification of Diseases . I’ve helped clients in the throes of it and others who are finally seeing the light. I’ve heard from HR across the country who has seen a rise in sick leave due to stress. It is spreading and it can completely derail your career.
Full blown burn out can take a long time to recover from, and there are cases where a person never fully does. Meaning that they need to change working conditions and sometimes careers to stay healthy.
First off, read this article on the signs and symptoms to see if you have Burn Out. Then do something – maybe call your Doctor if it is really bad, hire a coach to ease the suffering or pick ONE thing to get you moving towards a healthier work-life.
5. Your Online Presence is Being Judged
Are you one of the 50% who’ve been passed over because of your online presence? The scary thing is, you can’t even answer that question because you will never know.
I know privacy is becoming a thing of the past, but for the sake of your career you need to be mindful of how you portray yourself.
First off, ignoring LinkedIn, let’s focus instead on the personal social media channels. Are your profiles set to private? If not, have they been scrubbed clean of inappropriate content? Who do you allow to see your profiles from work and if everyone, including management, are you portraying yourself in a way that would discourage promotions? Are you even on social media, if you don’t have any online presence that could also be a problem.
LinkedIn is still important as well. Do you have a personal brand and is your LinkedIn in line with that? Is your profile set up and optimized to showcase you as a leader in your field and to be found by recruiters (giving you more control over the future of your career). Here is my Facebook live where I talked about this.
6. AI is Coming For Your Job
Maybe not everyone’s jobs but there are many jobs that are predicted to be impacted with some resulting in job changes and some resulting in the elimination of certain careers with the introduction of technology, robots and automation never mind Artificial Intelligence.
What can you do? Technology will never be able to cover the soft skills, that is why I focused on the soft skills YOU need to future proof your career in this article.
7. Pay Inequity Exists
Most of us know it, but not everyone truly believes it. But it does. Women make less, People of Colour make less, New Canadians make less. It sucks and it isn’t fair.
So much of it is rooted in ingrained belief systems that just do not hold up. It happens during the offer process when hiring managers just don’t see the person has deserving top dollar and it keeps happening during the performance reviews when those same managers again don’t see the value and therefore do not offer a big raise.
There isn’t much I can do as an individual except keep talking about it. What I do try to do is arm you with the best negotiation tips, tricks with articles and videos so that you can fight for your worth (even though you shouldn’t have to).
7 things that you don’t want to know about. But now that you do, you can come up with a plan. A plan to make sure that your career isn’t impacted by one (or more) of these 7 obstacles.
It’s September and for most people, the feeling of a new beginning. But if you are one those people who hate their jobs, are sick of a long commute or struggling in a job search this time of year can suck.
You want a change and you want it now.
It doesn’t always work like that. But there is some work you can do today that is like pressing fast forward on achieving that change. Which is why I’ve compiled ALL of my top tips, tricks and resources to try and make that happen for you.
Step 1: Know what you want.
You know you want a change. But do you know what that change actually looks like? If you are struggling to define a specific career, job or industry it can have you flailing around and going nowhere.
Instead, if you are laser focused and know exactly what it is you are looking for that allows you to customize everything to achieve that one thing.
Need help? My favourite exercise is the Interests, Motivations and Skills and it focuses on what career fits in with your life, your skill set AND what will bring you joy. I wrote a whole article about it and how this exercise helped me figure out that this was MY dream career.
Cheap Resource: Find Career Happiness Course, only $4.95
Step 2: Write a Stand Out Resume
This is your primary marketing document. You are now a product and your resume is your pamphlet selling you to companies. So make sure that it is telling a cohesive story, one that is relevant to the job and company you are applying for.
And since Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are taking over the world, make sure it is optimized, such as having the right key words in the right format.
I've written a ton on resumes, like the Modern Day rules, how to optimize and writing a winning one.
Free Resource: The Ultimate Resume Checklist
Step 3: Don’t Just Hit Apply
You see an amazing job. You spend hours customizing and optimizing your resume. You hit apply and then you wait. Sound familiar?
I liken applying on job boards to a black hole, you send resumes out only to hear nothing in return.
If you want a job fast, you need to make sure that your resume isn’t getting lost with the rest of them (an average of 250!). So do something about it. Find the key decision maker or who may be the key decision maker and follow up that application with an email to them stating your interest and your differentiating factor.
Step 4: Outsource Your Job Search
Make sure you have has many people out there helping you out in your job search. That includes engaging your current network. A coffee with an old manager, or maybe a lunch with a colleague who works at company you want to work at. These are your strongest advocates, making sure they know what you want and are looking for will help them determine appropriate opportunities for you to consider.
That also includes optimizing your LinkedIn to be found. Found by recruiters. Having an “all-star” LinkedIn profile that is full of great information and keywords, getting as close to the magic number of connections and logging in each and every day will increase your likelihood of showing up in a recruiter’s search.
Cheap Resource: Purposeful Networking Course - $14.95
Step 5: Get Help
Outplacement services (those provided by employers to employees they are laying off) are very similar to Career Coaching services. I should know because I do both!
The great thing about outplacement is that they provide services to a large number of clients which yields great data.
And that data is very promising.
A person engaged in the process with a Career Coach lands a job 50-63% faster than the national average. Crazy right?
So maybe the biggest factor in speeding up your search could be as simple as hiring a coach.
Investment Resource: Career Coaching Packages or Job Search Rescue Plan
Free Resource: Strategy Call with Me
Step 6: Create a Plan
A lot of job searches are chaotic. They begin and end with job boards.
The problem with that is the math. Each job gets on average 250 applications and only 4-6 are selected for an interview. Of that 4-6, not all come from the 250, so only about 10% of applications get an interview (some stats say as little as 2%, eek!).
That means the majority of the time you send out a resume for a posted job, you will never hear anything.
So you need to do more than just applying for jobs but with our natural inclination to centre our search around them you need to create a plan so that you can make sure you do more.
Create a plan that encompasses all the key aspects of a job search, including networking, volunteering, research and preparation and social media.
Free Resource: Dream Career Planner
If you follow these 6 steps, I’m positive you’ll see incredible results. By Christmas, you can be in that dream job. Wouldn’t that be amazing?
Leveraging LinkedIn for your career is one of the smartest things you can do and one that doesn’t even take up much of your time. Optimizing it to enable great job opportunities to come to you is a sure fire way for you to take control of your career. If you are actively job searching, it outsources some of that search, making your job search life just a little bit easier.
When I’m talking about leveraging and optimizing, I’m talking about setting up your LinkedIn profile so that you can be found specifically by recruiters. When a company begins a new search, 87% of recruiters turn to LinkedIn when they are seeking new talent to fill that opportunity. I was one of those 87%, I almost exclusively used LinkedIn throughout my 15 years of recruitment experience so I know a thing or two about what goes through a recruiters mind when they are hunting for that perfect candidate, knowledge that you can use to make sure your profile is all set.
1. Complete Your Profile
LinkedIn does have an algorithm and that algorithm is kinder to profiles that are 100% filled out, or received the All Star Badge. This will bias the search engine in your favour.
This is the number one thing you can do to get someone to click on your profile and send you a message, in fact LinkedIn’s stats show that you can get 9x more connection requests, 21x more profile views and 36x more messages
The photo doesn’t have to be a head-shot, but it does have to be professional.
3. Name, Headline & Location
When a recruiter does a search, the results show up with page after page of names, headlines and locations.
Most of us recruiters are inherently lazy, something I say all the time. But honestly we are lazy because it isn’t uncommon for the search results to be in the hundreds if not thousands, which means we have to be lazy as a way to be highly efficient with our time. So we only click on the profiles that are in line with what we are looking for:
Recruiters use search strings to find talent, search strings full of key words. That means when you are thinking about your profile don’t just fill it out from the perspective of what you do, also think of it from the perspective of what you want to do! Take a look at 3-5 jobs that are reflective of the industries, companies and jobs you would be interested in. Highlight the keywords that are common and fill out your profile with them.
A great place to start is your summary. I always include a list of skills and competencies in a client’s summary, a recruiter may never see that list (they would have to click “see more” and remember – lazy and no time) but the search engine sees them!
Next, make sure your work experience is up to date and actually filled in with information. It is recommended that you don’t copy and paste your resume but instead make your LinkedIn profile reflective of your resume. Use the keywords where relevant.
Lastly, use the Skills section. The great thing about this section is when you click to add more you’ll get some suggestions from LinkedIn. Use these suggestions! These are identified based on search strings used by people to find individuals like yourself, and chances are those people are recruiters! Use all 50 to get the biggest bang for your buck with this section.
5. Your Network
You can have the perfect profile but if you don’t have enough connections all that work would be for naught. As I have discussed in the past, your goal is to be a 3rd degree connection with most everyone within your industry and/or region. That 500 number is still the magic one, so working towards it is key!
6. Be Active
LinkedIn’s algorithm takes into account more than just a good profile, it now takes into account user activity and is kinder to those who log in often and engages on their platform. When you wake up in the morning, do you do a quick review of all your favourite social media platforms? Well I would add LinkedIn to that list and maybe like (or comment or share) a post each time you log in. 5 minutes of your time MAX.
7. Turn On Open to Career Opportunities
Let recruiters know you are open to hearing about new jobs.
Curious to know if it is working? There are a few things you can do. In your dashboard, look at your search appearances and your profile views numbers, they should rise after this work.
Don’t want to wait? Test it out yourself. Take a look at a job you are interested in, if you were trying to find a candidate to fill this role what sort of search strings would you use? Type them in, narrow down by location and see if you show up on one of the first few pages?
Feeling lost? I can help with that, schedule a strategy call to talk more about it.
Sara Curto helps people find a career they love by teaching them a new way to job search.
The Secrets to finding a job you love
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