Category Archives: Job Search

How Finding a Job Will be Different in 2021

Source:  Fast Company

2021 may bring some normalcy back to the workplace, but some changes are going to stick. Here’s what you need to know.

 

 

 

Whether you’ve been unemployed and looking for a job through the pandemic or are planning to leave your current role in 2021, it’s no secret that hiring has changed in many ways. From remote onboarding to a shift in where we network and look for job opportunities, there have been fundamental changes in how we get our next gigs. And even as the promise of vaccines and immunity give us a glimpse into a future where we’ll be back in the office again, some things are here to stay.

“During the eight months of the pandemic, we basically saw a lot of rules around how work gets done, be broken, or fall by the wayside,” says Erica Volini, global human capital leader at Deloitte. “People worked in radically different ways, whether that’s crossing functional silos, whether that’s teaming, whether that’s working in different industries in different sectors, assuming new roles very quickly.” And once you change the way you work, it can be tough to go back to the old way of doing things, especially if the new way works.

As the pandemic era gives way to a hybrid approach to work, the way we look for jobs will remain changed too. Here’s what job hunters can likely expect in the “next normal” in 2021:

INTERNAL TALENT MARKETPLACES WILL GROW IN IMPORTANCE

“One of the biggest trends that we are going to see in a post-pandemic world is a heavy focus on people looking for new jobs within their organization,” Volini says. Organizations will be looking internally first, sometimes on sophisticated, technology-enabled platforms, to find the right mix of skills and capabilities, she says. These marketplaces can also track employee development.

According to a recent Deloitte report, this approach helps organizations apply the talent they already have more effectively. Eventually, such marketplaces are expected to evolve into a place where employees can find stretch roles, gig assignments, mentors, and other opportunities to develop their skills. Such internal focus means that employees will need to become more adept at navigating these systems, including ensuring that their skills, training, and goals are up-to-date, to find their next roles.

YOUR DIGITAL PRESENCE WILL MATTER MORE

With remote connections still the primary way candidates connect with recruiters and hiring managers, they need to be diligent about their digital presence. Companies will increasingly find candidates through the content they develop online, says Abakar Saidov, CEO and cofounder of HR technology firm Beamery.

Hari Kolam, CEO of Findem, an HR platform that helps companies find candidates and manage their workforce, agrees. Candidates need to “move the focus from their résumés and place it more on developing their digital footprints to get noticed,” he says.

Clean up your social accounts, curate or create relevant content, and develop content—such as a blog post, introductory video, or contributed piece—that will demonstrate your thought leadership and give you an edge, he says. “Sure, a résumé is a nice-to-have and required for some applications, but it’ll just be table stakes in the 2021 job market and not enough to outshine a competitor,” he says.

EMPLOYERS WILL SEARCH FOR CAPABILITIES

As previously reported in Fast Company, Gartner data found one-third of the skills listed in an average 2017 job posting would not be relevant by 2021. As roles are reimagined, and companies need employees with skills such as problem-solving and adaptability, those skills should be evident on your résumé and in any content you create, Volini says.

“We’re starting to see technology that can actually then tell you, based on your capabilities, here are all the different types of jobs that you might be equipped for within the organization. Here are the multiple different career paths that you can start to take. And, so it starts to open up a brand new dialogue,” she says.

As more companies recognize the importance of internal mobility, she predicts there will be a shift in culture that emphasizes managers’ responsibility to develop talented employees, rather than wanting to hold onto them for their teams. That’s going to help employees have more frank conversations with managers about their goals and development.

GEOGRAPHIC OPTIONS WILL INCREASE

With so many remote opportunities opening up, geography is becoming less of a factor in where you’ll look for a job, says Amelia Ransom, senior director of diversity and engagement at tax compliance software firm Avalara and former talent director at Nordstrom.

So, while you may not have considered a company in New York or California because you would need to relocate, now that remote work is so prevalent and, for many companies, permanent, you can expand your geographic parameters. “Job seekers will now be looking for companies that have increased flexibility to accommodate different work hours, time zones, and in-person requirements as they are looking for the right position,” she says.

UPPING YOUR PRODUCTION GAME MATTERS

As videoconferencing has become such an important part of work for many, expectations around production quality are shifting, Kolam says. “When you have high-quality sound and lighting, as well as a better-than-decent headset to block out distractions, you’re set up for success for video interviews and interactions with prospective employers,” he says. Creating a mini-production center to ensure your audio and video are both high-quality can help set you apart, he says.

It also helps for job seekers to have a tracking system and a personal CRM, “anything from an Excel document to an Airtable that can help them organize their job search and keep track of job openings, job descriptions, company overviews, and follow-up timelines,” he adds.

ONLINE NETWORKING WILL CONTINUE TO GROW

Kolam says that online professional groups and job-search groups where people provide job leads, advice, and opportunities to peers have surged and will remain popular. The ease of connecting through social media or getting together for coffee over a video chat versus getting together in person will make it an ongoing tool for people who want to be time-efficient, keep in touch with contacts, and form communities.

You can find various special-interest and regional online networking opportunities on sites such as Eventbrite and Meetup. Check LinkedIn and Facebook for industry-, region-, and interest-specific online networking groups. Some organizations, such as local Chambers of Commerce and business groups, also host online networking opportunities.

IT MAY BE HARDER TO FIND THE RIGHT FIT

A key area that will be tougher for job seekers is determining whether the firm’s culture is a good fit for you, says business psychologist Matt Kerzner, director at the Center for Individual and Organizational Performance at advisory and accounting firm EisnerAmper. In other words, you can get a feel for the place by walking around, seeing the people, looking at the break room, etc. “We don’t have that right now, in today’s environment, and that gets really tricky.”

People could soon realize they’ve made a big mistake when they get a dose of the company’s culture. So, job seekers will have to become better sleuths, using social media, networking, and insightful questions to get a true sense of the company’s culture.

For many companies, shifts to remote work and new demands on most employees have changed what we took for granted about the job-search process. Like so many other work-life areas, adaptability to the new norms and willingness to explore new ways of working will be valuable assets to help you succeed.

Let Allied help you explore new ways of working!  Check out our available jobs and apply today

Where to Search for Jobs: Finding Your Next Opportunity

From the Wall Street Journal

 

Finding the perfect job takes time, patience and the right resources. As of May 2021, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that unemployed people are out of work for 19.3 weeks, or about 5 months, according to Indeed.com. The time it takes for you to find a job may vary depending on your industry, location and level of experience. It might seem counterintuitive, but the more experienced you are, the longer it may take you to find a job, because employers may see you as overqualified. But there are some ways you can make the search more constructive.

1. Learn how to network.

One of the most powerful things you can do when searching for jobs is actively network. It can be awkward and, for people who aren’t naturally outgoing, requires a bit of courage, initiative and self-discipline.

  • Start with friends and people you know. Get a feel for creating rapport with those you are already comfortable with in order to have some ice-breakers ready to go when you expand beyond your social circles.
  • Find people who have similar jobs to the one you are seeking. Let them know you would like to learn more about their jobs and see if they know of any openings in the industry. The more you make connections, the easier it will be to gather intel on what is available.
  • Force yourself out of your comfort zone. Start reaching out beyond your immediate circle once you feel like you have a good rhythm. You don’t need to contact 10 people right out of the gate. The first couple of cold calls are always the hardest.
  • Know that people genuinely enjoy your interest in them. Don’t feel like you are imposing on people by asking about their jobs. Steve Dalton, author of the “Two Hour Job Search” told us, “It’s an old maxim that ‘interested is interesting.’ They take a reciprocal interest in you because you have good taste in who you listen to speak, and that’s where jobs come from.”

2. Search online job sites.

Looking at online job boards is an efficient way to find opportunities. Most employers use one or more of them to find candidates.

Glassdoor: Glassdoor is known as a resource for researching a potential employer. You will find ratings and reviews of different employers on a range of topics, such as compensation, company culture, how generous benefits are, and what employees think about top executives.

Indeed: Indeed’s main function is as a search engine for jobs. It also happens to be one of the most popular sites for job candidates, which makes it attractive to employers trying to cast a wide net in search of potential candidates. It has other value-add offerings, such as a salary comparison tool, allowing you to look at compensation trends among different industries. It also allows other users to review companies, providing insights into what it might be like to work for or interview at certain companies.

Ladders: The selling point of TheLadders is that it only features vetted jobs with annual compensation of $100,000 or above. It offers a well-curated index of jobs by industry and skill specialism. It also allows you to filter by the highest-paying companies in each industry.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn markets itself as a “professional social network” where, aside from job listings, you can potentially reach decision makers at the companies you wish to apply to. Candidates can get an edge by looking at the profiles and posts of those who they might be interviewing with for insights into their career paths. Since users’ profiles are always available to view and the platform is used for networking, LinkedIn allows potential employers to find you whether or not you are actively seeking a new job. This sets it apart from other job sites.

SimplyHired: This site can flag job openings to you based on your location. It also offers a resume-building tool with a number of templates and formats specific to your career. Employers aren’t charged to post jobs on SimplyHired, so the quality of the jobs may not be quite as high as on other boards.

Upwork: If you are looking for freelance gigs, there are a wealth of job opportunities on Upwork, particularly if you have technical or design skills. The platform is well designed for bidding on jobs and communicating with those commissioning the work.

ZipRecruiterZipRecruiter’s key features include an option to message with employers through the site and a one-click application option. The platform will also let you know when employers are looking at your resume.

Key takeaways from job boards

  • Different boards have different features, so it makes sense to use more than one to take advantage of the resources they offer.
  • Researching a potential employer can help you decide where you want to work.
  • You can streamline your search using boards that cater to certain pay levels, or based on employee and interviewee feedback.

As you find and apply for jobs, check that you have everything—from your resume to your online image—in order to land the job you want.

3. Join a professional network.

Professional organizations can be a useful way to network with people in your industry and give you access to jobs that might not be widely found on the job boards we mentioned above. In addition, they can be a resource to learn which skills you should learn and how to do so. JobStars has a list of professional organizations you can use as a starting point for finding one relevant for your search.

4. Get an advocate and work with placement agencies.

Agencies and recruiters can maximize your search potential by actively looking for work for you. Once they have familiarized themselves with your skills and experience, they can be an additional resource pounding the pavement to help you land your dream job.

Keep in mind agencies and recruiters will receive a fee from the employer for placing you, and companies only work with a preferred list of agencies and recruiters. This can work both for and against you, depending on whether the job you are hoping to get is one they have been approved to recruit for.

You can find lists of recruiters and agencies by industry on JobStars. Other websites where you can find recruiters include SearchFirmOnline Recruiters Directory and Recruiterly. For creative jobs, a great place to look is Aquent.

Beyond your search

When your job search takes longer than you expected, it can feel overwhelming. If you are facing setbacks in landing the job you want, it may be time to look beyond your search. Use this guide to help you take a strategic approach in finding your next career opportunity.

 

Get extra support for your job search with Allied!  Review our available jobs and apply today!

During Covid-19, Technology Can Help You Find a New Career Path

If Covid has thrown your job, company or career for a loop, this may be the moment to think about not just a next move, but a larger career change.

Of course, such a move is impossible—or at least close to it—for many people who don’t have the contacts or resources to make it happen. But for those lucky enough to take advantage of it, technology can help address some of the obstacles to making a midcareer shift—especially right now, when so much of the professional world has moved entirely online out of necessity.

By putting a range of professional conversations and communities at your fingertips, the internet makes it much easier to figure out which fields are the best fit for your interests and talents. And through low-risk, low-cost options for trying out new professional contexts—such as taking online courses or doing remote pro bono work—you can assess a new career direction before you take a leap.

Here is how to tap into all that to help plan a career change.

Assess your options

Before you start to make a move, get a feel for your options by eavesdropping on other fields and getting familiar with the cultures and opportunities they offer, as well as the kinds of people and tasks that are involved.

An easy place to start is by joining professional groups on LinkedIn, so you can watch (or join in) the online conversation; many groups will welcome anyone who asks to come on board. Following a LinkedIn group for environmental lawyers, for instance, might confirm your hopes that this is a field you would like to leap into—or it might reveal political squabbles you’d find intolerable. Likewise, if you have friends or colleagues in this field, pay closer attention to them online and see what they share and respond to.

Be sure to follow them on LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as Facebook. Maybe the occasional posts you see from your management-consultant friends make their fast-paced work look appealing, but reading the full stream of their working lives will give you a better sense of whether it is a pace you would want to sustain yourself.

In addition, find the top Twitter hashtags, tweetups or Twitter chats in your new field and make a point of following or participating. You may find a group of kindred spirits who share not only your passion for project management, but also your affection for dogs and gardening—or you may discover that they are snarky and gossipy in a way you hate.

For something that offers a bit more opportunity for (virtual) face time, you might also sign up for webinars and remote events; there has never been a better opportunity to attend conferences in lots of industries for low to no cost.

Finally, if you do all that and you’re still torn between two or three different career paths, use Glassdoor, Payscale, LinkedIn, Indeed and other career sites to figure out pay ranges, volume of opportunities and expected qualifications.

Assess yourself

Next, figure out if your potential new field or career is actually the right fit for your particular skills and talents. There are many tech tools and strategies that can help you get a better perspective on your strengths and weaknesses.

One of my favorites is a 360-degree assessment that asks for online input from colleagues, bosses, direct reports and friends. This is best accomplished through a third-party consultant who can review and anonymize the results and help you make sense of them. When I completed an online 360 as part of a leadership program many years ago, I was surprised to learn I was a better manager than I thought, and that encouraged me to take on professional roles with more managerial responsibilities. If I’d had that kind of feedback face to face from my direct reports (as opposed to online and anonymously), I would not have trusted it as much.

It can also be useful to do an online self-assessment. Twenty years ago, when I was first working as a digital business consultant, an online self-assessment found I was a perfect fit for a career as a (drum roll) digital business consultant. It was very affirming and kept me from a big career rethink I didn’t need.

You can get a different sort of 360 by looking at analytics that examine your social-media presence. I routinely use software to see which of my articles have been shared the most on different platforms, for instance.

This kind of close examination will show you the kinds of blog posts, photos, Facebook posts and tweets that draw the biggest response, which can provide an important clue about where you add the greatest value.

But be sure to look not only at your most shared or liked content, but also at the stuff that didn’t perform well.

For example, you may think you’ve found your calling as a furniture designer on the strength of a few Instagram posts with your sofa designs that got a ton of likes. But some investigating may show that the vast majority of your other designs got little attention—so you might conclude that something else about the popular photos drove all those likes and shares. Such as the cute dog on the sofa, and not the sofa itself.

Test out the job

Let’s say you’ve found a field or profession that appeals and for which you seem to be a great fit. Now consider a virtual test drive.

One simple method: Set up a blog or social-networking profile focused on an area you’re thinking about moving into, and start posting. It is best to put up material regularly (at least once a week, or two to three times a week if you’re just posting short updates) for at least two or three months to see if you maintain your interest or this is more of a brief flirtation.

It is one thing to post the occasional set of house photos or neighborhood profiles to a real-estate blog; it is another to endure the day-in, day-out grind of adding a few house profiles every week.

(It is good practice to use a mysterious (but not misleading) pseudonym; if you want to design wine labels, call yourself “The Stylish Vintner” in your wine blog. If you decide to drop the field, there is nothing out there with your name on it. If you decide to pursue the career, you can out yourself.)

Another way to get a taste test is to take an online course in your new proposed field. Don’t think just in terms of accumulating credentials or skills; it is useful to take a course that will give you a feel for the breadth of work or the culture of the field. Also consider taking a participatory class, so you can get a sense of personalities and even start to form collegial relationships.

A volunteer engagement is another terrific way to gain some perspective and experience. If you have some credible basis for offering your services, try offering yourself as a pro bono service provider to a charitable organization. Right now, when everyone is working virtually, you don’t have to be constrained by geography, plus many organizations are stretched thin by the Covid crisis.

Map out your route

Unless you’re moving into a field or career path that is very closely related to your existing or most recent role, you probably need to plan your career transition in terms of “hops” that will take you from here to there.

In other words, first move into a career that is just a little different from your current job—but that is closer to your dream in terms of the industry, role or specific responsibilities. Use that role to build the skills, relationships and résumé that bring you one more step closer to your ideal, and then (in another couple of years), make your next hop.

For example, if you’re a web developer but you want to get into human resources, you could start by searching out HR companies where you could build websites—and get an inside view of the industry. As you’re working with HR teams, take every opportunity to learn about how they work and what they are looking for, and offer web or tech suggestions that reflect your growing understanding of their work.

With the experience and contacts you gain, you can then look for another job that is more focused on HR—bringing you closer to your goal.

For examples to follow, look at LinkedIn profiles of people in your new chosen career and reverse-engineer their career paths. Let’s say you’re a software developer but would like to work in epidemiology. Search out people whose current job title includes “epidemiologist” but whose profiles also include “software developer.”

Then look at their résumés and figure out the path they took to get from developer to public-health expert. You might see one person moved from software development into data-management-software development, then into data management and then into public-health-data management specifically.

Network—a lot

Start building virtual relationships with people at the companies where you hope to find your next job via LinkedIn or Twitter, and if you’re in a visual field, Instagram or Pinterest. If you build friendly relationships with a few people over time, after a while it is perfectly appropriate to reach out via private message to ask them if they can keep an eye out for potential job openings.

Don’t forget to reframe your own digital presence. Look at all your business-related profiles online and shift what you showcase so you can position yourself for the job you want. Let’s say you’re a software engineer but want to get into sales. If you’ve helped answer technical questions for customers or salespeople during the sales process, put that in the top of each job summary in your LinkedIn profile, so you look like a more obvious fit for sales roles.

Once you’ve got the right foot forward, start to book online meetings that move you closer to your goal. Whenever you apply for a job (or even think of applying for one), use LinkedIn to look for first- or second-degree connections at the company you’re applying to, and see if you can (re)introduce yourself. Don’t wait for a job opening to book these meetings—look for any opportunity to make new relationships with people in the companies or fields you’re targeting.

Finally, get creative. You may get better and faster results to your meeting requests by developing your own project in your field of choice, even if it is just an excuse to book some calls or meetings. Write the short e-book you think the field needs, sharing best practices from process engineers; start a podcast about higher-ed tutoring; build a directory of leaders in community fundraising. You just need something you can use to set up 15-minute conversations that are a good use of everyone’s time. And that something may turn out to be the first step in your brand-new career.

Source:  The Wall Street Journal

 

Make Allied one of your first 15-minute conversations!  Check out our current job openings, follow us, and reach out today! 

How to Plan Your Life When the Future Is Foggy at Best

 

By Kate Northrup

The year 2020 did not turn out as we planned. Unemployment rates in the U.S. are close to twice what they were in February of 2020, and the number of people furloughed is still towering over February averages. Plus, with the profound shakeup of our daily lives, a lot of folks are asking, What do I really want to do with my life, given that everything else seems to be up in the air?

Planning

The five-year plan is dead. With the pandemic and other uncertainties, many individuals are questioning what this means for career, and for those who plan years into the future, it can make them feel like they’re floundering.

If there’s any beauty that’s come from this pandemic, it’s that we’re reorganizing our priorities to honor what really matters to us. And for many, “career” is top of the reboot list. But letting go of what we always thought we could count on, like a five-year plan, can be painful and leave us feeling like we’re floundering.

Having a plan is one of the best stress-reduction strategies out there. As humans, we crave feeling like we’re in control and that we have certainty. In fact, research shows that a sense of control helps us stave off symptoms of depression and anxiety and can even decrease mortality risk. And the more we crave control, it turns out, the higher achieving we tend to be.

Just because we no longer have the illusion of knowing what our long-term future holds doesn’t mean we can’t still benefit from the stress-reduction — and achievement-enhancing — results of planning. It all comes down to how we look at time and goals.

If you want to thrive and be part of the meaningful change, adaptability is the key ingredient. But I don’t mean to just go with the flow and take life as it comes to you. This new brand of adaptability channels our desire to make a strategic plan, while building in planned checkpoints for course correction as new information arises and circumstances shift. It’s called micro-planning.

Micro-planning is simple. It takes a larger vision and breaks it down into yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily check-in practices to plan and adjust as necessary. We get some of the same stabilizing effects that a five-year plan may have given us but with shorter chunks of planning that make more sense in our current economic and cultural context.

Micro-planning is based on biomimicry, “a practice that learns from and mimics the strategies found in nature to solve human design problems — and find hope along the way.” Prolonged stress, like the kind experienced during a global pandemic of unknown length, can cause a significant decrease in our ability to function optimally, especially when it comes to our cognitive abilities (like our brain handling high-order tasks or our ability to make decisions based on our goals instead of based on our habits). Micro-planning allows us to relieve this stress without the seduction of thinking, however erroneously, that we have control over what is going to happen in the next one, three, five, or more years of our lives.

There are six elements of micro-planning:

1. Purpose: Identify your compelling purpose that allows flexibility in terms of how it will come to pass. So many people are in a reboot phase when it comes to their careers. New directions can feel risky, but when we look back at our career history, we often find a thread that connects what all of our different roles have had in common. That thread is a great place to start when it comes to identifying your compelling purpose. For example, my purpose is to help leaders become more connected to sustainable sources of personal power so we can all make our highest contribution to humanity and the planet.

While how I implement this purpose may change as circumstances change around me, the purpose itself remains the same. If you aren’t clear on your purpose, do a quick exercise: Jot down the most fulfilling career experiences you’ve had to date. Notice what commonalities they have. Those are the ingredients of your purpose.

2. The Year: Make a plan for the year that aligns with your purpose, based on the best information you have available to you. Reflect on the previous year and what worked (or didn’t work) and take into account past lessons you’ve learned. Identify one to three areas of growth that you want to focus on. I don’t recommend trying more than three; a larger overhaul often fails because, when we put too much on our plate, we end up overwhelmed and not achieving the results we want. Your yearlong plan could include a job search, pursuing growth opportunities in the career you currently have, meeting and exceeding your KPIs, laying the groundwork for starting your own business, or whatever else makes sense for the current moment you’re in.

3. Quarters: At the beginning of each quarter, reassess what you’re working on and how you’re working by asking yourself powerful reflection and planning questions, such as: What themes emerged this past quarter? What worked, and what didn’t? What did I learn? How can I apply what I learned in the next quarter? What needs to shift in my plan based on new information and circumstances?

Based on the answers to these questions, set goals for the next quarter, being careful to choose no more than five per quarter. (The fewer the better; the fewer things you do with more focus and attention, the better results you’ll get.) For example, you might notice that a theme that emerged over the previous quarter was that you weren’t recognized for your ideas at work. After reflection, you realize you weren’t advocating enough for them.

You may then shift your plan for the next quarter and set a goal to share one new idea with your department every month and that when you do so, you also share very clearly how it will positively impact results for your department. You might also decide to read two books on increasing your influence as a leader to improve in this area.

4. Months: Each month, take your goals for the quarter and assess where you stand with them. For any active goals, break them into specific projects and then break each project down into phases. Every project requires four distinct phases to get it off the ground and achieve the results we want: planning and initiation, shipping/launching/making it visible, completion and integration, and rest and reflection.

For example, if your project is to “search for a new job,” the “plan and initiate” phase would be updating your resume, tapping into your network for potential opportunities, and searching for openings. The next phase, “making it visible,” would be applying for jobs, showing up for interviews, and following up after. The “complete and integrate” phase would be the onboarding phase once you receive your new job offer. Finally, the “rest and reflect” phase would be allowing yourself to exhale and celebrate, knowing that a new cycle has begun — and you have accomplished your goal.

5. Weeks: At the start of each week, make a weekly to-do list — rather than a daily one that’s a mile long and leaves you feeling defeated when you shut down for the day. This weekly plan allows you to have a broader view of what’s ahead and gives you more flexibility to plan than your average to-do list. But don’t just think about work tasks. Prioritize movementsleep, time outsidehydration, and healthy food, too, as you look ahead in your week. Optimizing your physical energy make you significantly more effective at executing your plans than buying into the common, yet inaccurate, belief that our best work comes exclusively from our intellect.

6. Days: Finally, track your energy on a daily basis. Gathering data about yourself and your physical, mental, and emotional energy at the end of the day can give you powerful information as to how to optimize your workflow. Keep a journal by your bedside and jot down how you felt emotionally, mentally, and physically. Note what you worked on, how it went (what went well, what didn’t, and what you learned), and what you’re grateful for. This five-minute practice allows you to incrementally adjust the way you show up at work and in your life so you can approach your weekly, quarterly, and annual planning more mindfully. Using this data collection practice to make micro-adjustments to the way you work and your goals also gives you a tremendous sense of control, which has been proven to decrease the amount of time it takes to get tasks done.

***

The world is changing dramatically all around us, and we need to change with it. Clinging to a long-term strategy like the five-year plan isn’t going to work anymore. But letting go of our need and desire to know what the future holds does not mean a freefall into anxious indolence. By breaking down our planning processes into smaller chunks, we begin to check in more frequently and adapt more naturally. The five-year plan may be dead, but our capacity for doing our most impactful work and live into the goals that we set for ourselves is very much alive.

Source:  Harvard Business Review

 

A great way to jumpstart your plan is to engage with Allied!  Check out our available positions, and connect with our recruiters to learn more about how we can help you realize your career goals.

 

Five Ways to Work Better From Home

From the Wall Street Journal

 

For millions of Americans, November will mark the eighth month of remote work.

Some have adapted: A recent survey of more than 4,000 people working full time remotely during the pandemic found that 65% would like to make the arrangement permanent, according to FlexJobs, a remote job-listings website.

But a survey of more than 12,000 employees, managers, human-resources leaders and executives in 11 countries released this month by Oracle and the advisory firm Workplace Intelligence found that seven in 10 people called this the most stressful year of their working lives; 41% said there no longer was a distinction between their personal and professional lives.

“For so many people, Round One of this whole scenario was fueled with adrenaline,” said Karen Mangia, vice president of customer and market insights at Salesforce. “What I’m hearing so many people ask is, ‘How long is this going to last?’ ”

Whatever the answer, workplace authorities agree that there are a few simple steps anyone—no matter their industry, seniority or number of roommates—can take to improve the work-from-home experience.

Vet your setup

The best way to a better workday is to put your home setup under a microscope, experts said, and fix what isn’t satisfactory. “What I usually recommend people do is focus on where they feel the most friction,” said Brie Reynolds, career development manager and coach at FlexJobs. “Where are the biggest pain points during the day? Where do [workers] feel the most stressed or the least comfortable?”

Make space

dedicated workplace helps productivity, consultants agreed. Improving your home office, whether it is a whole room or a corner of a table, can be as simple as taking a moment to consider whether your chair is comfortable, Ms. Reynolds said. If private space at home isn’t possible, try equipment such as noise-canceling headphones.

Eliminating clutter also is crucial, especially in tight quarters, according to Wendy Ellin, a workplace-productivity consultant. “Not everybody has an office with a door,” she said. “If you’re looking around and you see a bunch of piles—junk, laundry—is it serving you well?”

Find your focus

Working from home lets many people organize meetings, emails, conference calls, workouts and personal errands however they choose during the day. While this works for some, others find themselves struggling to focus on individual tasks.

“At home, it’s not just that we’re trying to battle work distractions, it’s also that we’re getting distracted by all the other things we feel like we should be doing there,” said Ms. Mangia, who recently published “Working From Home: Making the New Normal Work for You.” She recommends setting a timer for 30, 60 or 90 minutes of focused work, free of distractions such as email, app alerts and beeps from devices. After a sprint of work, go outside, stretch, have lunch or just take a break. “It’s amazing what you can accomplish in a small amount of focused time,” she said.

Heed your stressors

In September, the number of people in the U.S. reporting signs of anxiety and depression through an online screening tool from nonprofit advocacy group Mental Health America since the pandemic began hit a high.

Rebecca Haskell, founder and chief executive of Just Design Consulting, a workplace-advisory firm in Oakland Calif., recommended that people identify what makes them feel most stressed and how they can mitigate stress and feel better. “It’s less about having a best practice and more about knowing yourself and what you need,” she said.

Some of her clients say they can’t stop scrolling through headlines on social media, which makes them feel anxious and guilty about wasting time. “I don’t think it’s helpful to not read the news and pretend that things aren’t happening around us,” Ms. Haskell said. Instead, she recommends setting aside time for reading the news and checking social media, especially if it plays a role in one’s job. Afterward, take a short break and prepare to return to work.

Understand expectations

Now—almost a year into remote work—is a great time to ask your manager how things are going, Ms. Reynolds said. Inquire about short- and long-term goals and your manager’s expectations about when you are starting and ending the workday.

It is equally important to be upfront about your own needs, whether it is a few hours to finish a project when you won’t be answering calls or emails or a warning at the beginning of a video meeting about a potential interruption.

“Transparency helps everything,” Ms. Ellin said. “Give me the heads-up and let me know going in that you have a kid that’s napping and they’re going to wake up.”

 

Stuck in your job search?  Let Allied help!  Apply with us today!

Collecting Unemployment vs. Collecting a Paycheck

For the past several years the labor market has held many opportunities for workers in all fields and with all levels of skills and experience.  Often referred to as an “employee’s market”, since the end of the Great Recession companies have been hiring at a rapid pace and motivated workers could be selective about the jobs they chose.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the booming employment market has screeched to a near halt, where the only work available is for workers at essential businesses or those with jobs that are able to be performed remotely.  For many out of work, the solution has been receiving unemployment benefits.  With the CARES Act, weekly unemployment benefits were increased to assist families struggling with the financial impact of this crisis.

Making the decision to file a claim for unemployment benefits can be a difficult one for many people, even with the additional benefit included in the CARES Act.  But in the long run, benefits associated with choosing a job can outweigh the short-term gain of unemployment.  There are a few things everyone should consider regarding working vs. collecting unemployment.

  • Think big picture.  We have always stressed the importance of looking beyond today and thinking about  “the big picture.”  Envision what you want your career to look like in a few years, and how choices you make now might affect that vision.  Passing up an opportunity to work now could close some doors down the road that otherwise might have been open.
  • Beat the competition.  Everything must come to an end eventually.  That means not only will your unemployment benefits eventually end, but the current state of the economy will end too.  If you have ever searched for a job during a competitive labor market, you know how frustrating it can be to find a steady, well-paying job.  Right now there is less competition for the work that is available, so it’s a great time to start a new job.
  • A chance to stand out.  It is easy to imagine that in a few years many, many people will have a big gap on their resume that represents 2020, and it can be tempting to just fall in line with the majority.  But what about people that started a new job in 2020?  Those are definitely going to be the people that stand out.  Even if the job isn’t something long-term or the perfect fit with your prior experience, just the fact that you will be able to share how you spent 2020 differently than most people will definitely set you apart from the crowd.
  • New opportunities.  Essential businesses need workers now, so many positions that previously required experience are being opened up to entry-level employees.  If you’ve always wanted to reinvent your career, now could be the perfect chance. (And if you aren’t quite sure how your skills can be applied to something new, give us a call, we can help!)
  • Benefits.  Wages aren’t the only thing a weekly paycheck includes.  When you are working full-time your benefits may include paid time off, access to health benefits, and contributions to your retirement.  If you are able to retain any of these benefits while collecting unemployment the cost will certainly be higher.  In addition, any benefits that accrue and increase over time will be impacted while you are unemployed.  Other benefits, like healthcare and 401k contributions, are costly to maintain outside of full-time employment.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created tremendous turmoil and uncertainty for everyone.  The economic impact of the current conditions will be long-lasting and some businesses will never recover.  The labor market will likely be very different than it has been for the past few years, with more opportunities in some areas and less in others.  Decisions made now about work could affect the trajectory of your career for years to come, so the best advice is always to consider all of your options and try to look beyond the present and put yourself if the best possible position for the post-COVID world of work.

Allied is hiring!  We work with many essential businesses that need workers to support the fight against COVID.  Check out our current openings and apply today!

 

 

 

Your Job Search: The Big Picture

It is never easy to talk when having your teeth cleaned, but recently I chatted with my dental hygienist while she cleaned my teeth. I always ask about her kids – particularly her son, Joe.

A few years ago, Joe was searching for a job and came to Allied. We placed him in a warehouse position at a great company – a company that ended up hiring him. Today, my hygienist told me he is interviewing for a position in that same company’s sales and marketing department, something he was always interested in. If he gets the position, he’ll train in Europe for a few weeks. She also told me the company is paying for him to complete his degree, something else he always hoped to do. I heard the pride in her voice as she talked about him; she was so happy he got into this company because so many new opportunities were now opening for him.

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I love to hear stories like this. They confirm what we in the staffing industry know: temporary work can open doors you may have never known existed nor been able to open yourself. Joe didn’t do well when he went to college straight out of high school so he dropped out. If he had applied for the same sales and marketing job then, he never would have gotten the interview. But now, he’s had the chance to prove himself to a company that recognized his potential and is giving him the chance to move from the warehouse to a job he’d merely dreamed of a few years ago. Plus, he is with a company that will finance the completion of his degree.

When we talk to people about jobs, we encourage them to consider the big picture. Maybe we don’t have your dream job available. We dare you to look at more than that. Is the company part of an industry that appeals to you? Does the company have a variety of departments and positions? Will the experience improve your resume? Will the job help you pay your bills while you continue to look for your dream job?

During a job search, it is important to take a step back and look at things differently. I’m sure Joe was frustrated before he came to us and I’m sure he complained to someone about having to take a warehouse job to get by, but I bet he’s happy with the big picture unfolding in front of him right now.

Want to jumpstart your job search?  Take a look at our current opportunities, and apply today!

Job Search Tools: Wordle

Have you ever heard of a wordle? Self-described as a “toy for generating ‘word clouds’ from text that you provide”, they offer an interesting way to visually represent text. Words that appear more frequently in the source text are displayed larger than other words. It’s an interesting exercise to create a wordle of your blog feed to see if the resulting image accurately represents the message you are hoping to deliver with your posts.

The wordle created from our blog feed is below, and it perfectly captures the goals and message of this blog. (Click to enlarge.)

Wordles aren’t just for blogs. You can cut and paste any text and create an image. Try creating a word cloud from your resume. Are the words that represent your strengths, skills and experience that you want to highlight the largest? If you have multiple resumes that you use for different positions, creating a wordle for each is an easy way to see if they are emphasizing the correct things. And what about your cover letters? A wordle can help you see if the keywords and important points of the job description or posting that you are responding to are prominent enough in your letter.

Wordles are a fun “toy”, but also have some possibilities to help you with your job search, even if only to help you look at it a bit differently. Sometimes being able to take a different perspective can be a big help, especially with something like your resume that you may have looked at over and over. And that new perspective might be the spark your job search needs.

Once you have that resume ready to go, check out our current openings and get it over to our recruiters!