5 Practical Tips on How to Find a Great Job During a Recession

Close to a half a million Americans are losing their jobs since the last quarter of 2008 when the financial crisis hit the U.S. and swept the entire globe. While economists conclude that we have already seen and felt the worst of the recession, and basic economic indicators show that this crisis is bottoming-out; however, the unemployment rate continue to average between 8 to 9 percent every month.

A Shrinking Job Market

Worse, even if the economy normalizes, job opportunities will remain scarce because most companies who downsized during the downturn are not likely hire additional employees in the next few months. Newer technologies, a more competent and lean workforce, and efficient management systems were adopted and given priorities. Thus, hiring additional employees will take a back seat for while.

So, where does this leaves you as a job seeker? The job market is shrinking, and many more are vying for a piece of that small pie. If more people are still losing their jobs, how can you possibly find great job opportunities in recession?

Job Opportunities in Crisis

Understandably, the current economic prognosis is still not good, but there should be no reason to lose hope. I believe that the ancient Chinese traders were right when they say that there are actually “opportunities in crisis” such are there are great job opportunities in recession. In fact, some jobs were created because of this slowdown. The key is finding these job opportunities and grabbing them.

More so, even if more people are joining the ranks of the unemployed, you can still find better paying jobs if you try to find them in the right places. I have learned, as an HR Practitioner, that those who can easily get a job are those who are proactive and persistent. Look and ye shall find! Knock and the door shall be opened to you!

Practical Tips to Follow in Job Hunting

Okay, while you’re at it, here 5 practical tips on how to find a great job during recession:

    1. Look for jobs on the internet; it is more time efficient and cost-effective. If you have a Twitter account, try to search for a specific job in your area and you will be surprised to find how many job opening being twitted every minute. Better yet, network with these headhunter twitters so that you get to have a firsthand info to new job ads.
    1. Refine your resume to highlight knowledge, skills, and other professional strengths that will add value to an organization. Do not write a resume that ‘fits all.’ Customized each resume for a specific job position you are applying for. You need not overhaul your entire resume; just highlight your competencies and experiences to suit the job or position you desire.
    2. Rehearse (if possible, master by heart) your answers for possible interview questions with someone. Ask their opinions how you can improve your answers or presentations. There are only less than 10 questions that are commonly asked during job interviews. And more often, the same question is being asked in several different ways. For example, “Tell me about yourself” is similar to “Why should we hire you?” “What can you do for the organization?” “What are your strengths?” or “How can you add value to the organization?” The focus is on your competencies or qualifications for the job. The secret of giving a good answer lies on how well you understood what is being asked and the underlying intent/s behind. Lastly, you might want to write your answers and see how you can improve them.
    3. Be the solution! Be proactive! Apply to organizations you deemed would need your expertise even if they were not hiring. Most progressive companies with good Human Resource Management Department usually gives chances to people who present themselves as problem solvers.
    4. Do your numbers! Meaning, apply to as many organizations as you can. Do not just zero-in on one or two, so that you will have the upper hand in deciding which job interview to prioritize, and ultimately which job offer to accept. Don’t stop searching even if you are already waiting for a job offer or two. Again, it pays to give yourself the latitude to choose which organization you think will suit best your interest. Besides, hiring companies have always the prerogative to make last minute hiring decisions. Do your numbers.

Perseverance is Key to Job Search Success

I know that this 5-point advice sounds too simplistic and easy; nevertheless, the most important element of job hunting success is perseverance. Again, do your numbers. Do not wait for those calls, do the follow-up yourself and continue sending those resumes. Do this, regardless of the economic climate; you will get that dream job of yours.

Hiring an Outside Screening Company to Perform Pre-Employment Screening

Many employers that are required by law to perform background screening on their employees employ either an in-house screening team or, in most cases, an outside screening company. Although partnering with a reputable outside screening service to handle their background check requirements is standard practice for many employers, still others, large and small, wonder if it’s a good idea.

Pre-employment screening can be expensive. For this reason, smaller employers wonder if they should handle their own background screening. For the most part, simple reference checks are easily handled by an organization’s HR department. However, more extensive screening may be best handled by a professional. Just as an employer won’t generally handle their own drug screening needs, they probably shouldn’t handle their own criminal records screening either.

There are several reasons why it’s a good idea to hire an outside screening company, not the least of which is the fact that a reputable screening service will be far more aware of the laws that govern pre-employment screening than the average employer.

So, what should employers look for in a screening partner?

• First, a screening agency should be reputable. Employers can check with the Better Business Bureau and ask for references from screening companies they are considering. It’s also a good idea to check with business associates and other reliable sources for recommendations.

• Second, a screening service should be experienced. Inexperienced screening services may include information that unfairly influences an employer’s decision or may fail to include pertinent information that an employer needs to know. Partnering with an experienced agency is a great way to ensure that information is complete.

• Third, a screening company should be thorough. A reputable agency assures an employer that they see the process through from start to finish. They not only guarantee that they comply with all state and federal laws but that they handle the administrative work involved in the process such as getting applicant permission, providing notices, and preparing reports.

• Fourth, a screening agency should provide information about their services. When considering any screening service, an employer should receive information about the company, the services it provides, how it complies with the legal aspects of the process, how it handles the administrative aspects of the process, and what guarantees it provides to the employer.

With workplace violence and the legal liabilities such incidents generate on the rise, employers can’t be too careful in making sure they make the best hiring decisions possible. Partnering with a reputable employment screening service can take a lot of the worry out of complying with state and federal laws, properly administering the process, and accessing a proper and thorough report. Even a small oversight in an employer’s do-it-yourself attempt at a criminal background check can leave that employer open to more legal liability than bargained for. In the long run, it may be wise to hire a reputable employment screening agency to reduce the risk of hiring the wrong person.

7 Life Changing Benefits of Setting Career Goals

Has your career stalled? Don’t have a clear view of your future? You could do your job in your sleep? Maybe you should develop a written career plan with clearly set out goals. If you have a career plan, with a focus of something to aim for, something to work for, a method to measure progress you’ll discover a variety of positive results.

There is one thing you must do before starting your journey. Write down your career goals. It can’t be emphasized to much that your career goals must be written. They must be measurable and reachable. Don’t try to jump the Grand Canyon in one leap. Keep the career goals in a series of smaller steps. If you plan on reading, for example, 120 books in the next five years, that’s two a month. Make your objective in your career plan to read two books a month. This is much easier to achieve and keep score.

Don’t forget to add a fitness component to the career plan. How is your fitness level? See your doctor and then get started. A physically fit person, knows their increased concentration and endurance will allow them to perform their job at a higher level. Don’t neglect this aspect of your career plan.

Also, when you draft up your career goals, concentrate on the top three to five objectives. Write them on a card. Put a copy in your check book, on the visor in your car. Write them out on your laptop or computer screen saver so every time you turn on your computer you read the career goals.

Setting career goals can provide you with the following series of benefits all which will help you grow and grow your career.

1. Career goals will give you a focus, a picture of where you want to be. With this picture firmly set in your mind, you will find ways to move toward your objective.

2. Making progress toward a goal can be a big motivator. As you reach each milestone it provides you with the motivation to keep going, to keep improving.

3. Success comes to those who set career goals. Once you begin working toward a written goal you have set the picture of the planned result in your mind and you will set aside the time and put forth the effort to reach the goal.

4. Your confidence will increase as each step in your career goal is reached. Building on this confidence will give you the effort required to work at and reach the next in your career plan.

5. Each time we set a goal and reach it we grow as a person. This allows us to build on our knowledge and experience base to reach farther.

6. Reaching career and personal goals will develop one of the most important attitudes that measure success. As you become more confident, you will become more positive. You view of the future will be more assured and this confident attitude will attract more positive people to you and more positive things will happen to you.

7. With one of your career goals to improve your level of fitness, as you become more fit, your enjoyment of the world around you will grow. Your ability, on occasion, to work longer hours will not sap your endurance. You’ll be able to do things in your off hours that will add spice to your life. You’ll have more balance in your life and this will lead to even more interesting adventures.

So the benefits of setting career goals are they give you a focus, they generate motivation, they develop success, they increase confidence, they allow you to grow as a person, they build a positive attitude and they bring a balance and enjoyment into your life.

Now is the best time to start your career planning. With written career goals you too will begin experiencing these seven important life long benefits.

Stay at Home Jobs – Companies That Pay You to Stay Home!

Have you been thinking about all of the stay at home jobs possibilities available to you on the web? If not, then you need to know that there are literally thousands of stay at home jobs waiting for you to begin work right now. Believe it or not, there are actually quite a few online jobs that you can begin in less than 20 minutes!

Sound too good to be true? It’s really not! Just ask anyone who has looked into stay at home jobs on the web. Most will tell you that stay at home jobs do exist. The truth is that it isn’t hard at all to find a legitimate online job — not in the least bit. Remember that we are not living back in the 90s when everything coming and going was a scam. Nowadays, 99% of all stay at home jobs online are legit! All you need is a computer, an internet connection, and the will to succeed to get started!

Here are some things to look for when searching for good stay at home jobs:

1. The first thing you should do when attempting to find a online job is make sure that coaching is available if you need it. There should be a number and an email address available that you can contact for support. There should be a coach and/or some sort of guide there for you if you have any questions. Training should also be available, especially if applying for affiliate marketing stay at home jobs.

2. Stay-at-home-mom websites are also very good resources for finding employment. Personally, because they list hundreds of businesses, jobs, and opportunities that you can begin right away. There are even discussions forums that provide the low-down on companies that aren’t so good as well.

3. Making sure that you can talk with other actual human beings about certain stay at home jobs is a huge plus! Join discussion forums that list online jobs and call the numbers listed on the websites.

The biggest benefit of stay at home jobs is that you are the one who calls all of the shots. When searching for internet jobs, keep the above mentioned tips and steps in mind and you will not go wrong. You are going to find that at-home employment is a lot easier to find than you have ever dreamed! The best part about working at home is that you can have more than one job. The more you put into it, the more money you are going to get back. What a lot of people do not realise is that most of these jobs require little to no experience. The benefits are endless and very real. There are billions of people all around the world making a living off of their own online jobs right this very second! Don’t let life pass you by without letting your dreams of having the perfect job at home come true. Success can be yours, you just have to get out there and grab it. Its easier than you think!

Job Finders Co is a online job research team. We specialize in finding perfect jobs in a broad range of industries for people looking for a career in something more suited to their lifestyle.

Employment at Will and Unemployment Compensation Claims

One of the most challenging aspects of working in employment in an “at will” state like Texas, especially in a company with numerous locations (i.e., numerous managers who hire and fire), is dealing with unemployment compensation claims.

The employment at will doctrine states that any hiring is presumed to be “at will” which means that the employer is free to terminate individuals “for good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all,” and the employee is equally free to quit, strike, or otherwise cease work. In Texas, there are exceptions such as public policy (e.g. serving on jury duty) and statutory (e.g. refusing to commit illegal acts). Statutory exceptions also include the federal anti-discriminatory laws (i.e., age, gender, national origin, race, etc.) that started to be implemented in the mid-60s. It should also be mentioned that an employer, even in employment at will states, must follow his own policies and procedures when it comes to terminations. Of course, collective bargaining and other types of employment agreements can abrogate the employment at will status in specific employment situations.

However, in those employment situations when employment at will does apply, which is the vast majority, it becomes interesting because it is a legal concept and does not define operational policies and procedures which impact unemployment claims. From a practical standpoint, a company of just about any age or size should have formal policies and procedures that define employee-related practices. These can be in the form of an employee handbook or a supervisors manual, or both. Basically, these items should define everything that impacts employment with the company – from hire… to fire. I use the word “everything” loosely because something new will always come up.

In my experience, supervisors and managers generally make a good faith effort to document issues with employees. You know, lates to work, excessive absences, poor performance, etc. But let’s face it, most supervisors and managers are focused on getting some form of production “out the door”. Their livelihood and the company’s depends on it. So at the eleventh hour (i.e. the employee is about to be terminated or has just been terminated), you (i.e., HR or higher level managers) get a call from the manager asking for help.

Here’s how it goes: You ask why the person was terminated – lates to work. You’re OK there. It states clearly in your Employee Handbook excessive lates are grounds for termination. You ask if the person was given any warnings – yes. You’re OK there. You ask if the warnings were written – no. That may be a problem. The Employee Handbook says progressive discipline, including written warnings, will be used unless the infraction(s) is egregious. You ask if other employees have been terminated in this same department for the same or similar level of infraction – yes. That is good. You request a write up of the termination interview and any documentation related to the lates to work. (Sometimes this information will have to be created post-termination…)

You now pull the employee’s personnel file. The employee is a 52 year old high performing minority female who has been with the company for seven years. Any red flags there? Well, yeah…, aged 42 (protected class), high performing, minority (protected class) and maybe the female part. Here’s when you have to keep the exceptions to employment at will in mind (e.g. statutory), but you don’t let them stop you from doing what is right. In other words, if the employee was terminated because she was late so often, warned, but didn’t do anything about it and she was treated like others with the same problem, you’re going in the right direction. If any of that other stuff (i.e., protected classes…) came into it, you’ve got a problem.

The terminated employee goes to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and files an unemployment claim. The TWC takes a very simple-minded approach to investigating unemployment claims. If at all possible, they are going to pay the terminated employee’s claim unless that individual quit the job. (… and in some cases they will pay even when the employee quits…) To avoid paying unemployment claims, you should follow your policies, have good written documentation leading up to the termination, and terminations should be based on some form of policy infraction (i.e. misconduct) and/or poor performance. Short of these things, they are likely to pay your former employee’s claim.

That’s the key. Employment at will allows most employees to be terminated essentially without cause. Not paying unemployment compensation almost categorically requires that the employee was terminated for cause and you can prove it. So often, employers think they can terminate for any reason or no reason, until an employee files an unemployment claim and their former employer gets the TWC questionnaire… Then the employer tries to backtrack, recreate history, etc. simply because they didn’t follow their own policies as far as documenting poor performance, poor attendance and so on.

The bottom line is… put your policy and procedure “ducks in a row”. Develop your Employee Handbook, your Supervisors Manual, train your employees and supervisors. (One of the most important things you can put in these manuals is a re-statement of the employment at will doctrine) Ensure that your supervisors understand the importance of documenting employee issues and policy infractions. It is also a good idea to become well-acquainted with the TWC’s website. It has numerous resources for employers (and employees) that are very worthwhile, especially the item entitled “Appeals Policy & Precedent Manual”.

As a friend of mine in HR said, ‘putting procedures in place and training your supervisors on them could save you some big unemployment claim dollars down the road’. Long story short, think and act now, don’t pay later.

Singles and Career Transition – Advice From Those Who Did it and Persevered

As a career coach who helps people navigate their career transition with ease, I tend to hear one point of view more than any other — that it’s hard to make a change when you don’t have a partner to support you financially and otherwise. For this reason, I thought it would be worth seeking genuine feedback from real people who made it happen for their careers without a partner to support them.

Below you’ll find some very insightful answers to some questions I posed on singles in career transition. I hope they offer hope and inspiration to single people like you, who feel ready to leap out of their comfort zone and embark on an exciting new career path, but may need a final few words of encouragement!

What advice can you share for singles who are stepping out of their comfort zone and pursuing a career that truly makes them happy?

” When you are single you can take greater risks than if you have a spouse and kids depending on you. For that reason alone it is easier to make the big career moves as a single person rather than a married one.”

– Sheilah Etheridge, Owner, SME Management: Management and Accounting Consultant
Anchorage, Alaska

Tips from Hallie: There are pros and cons to being partnered during career transition and to being single. Your job is to capitalize on the positive aspects of your situation. Don’t let being single hold you back. There’s no reason it should. Sheilah is right on, as a single person you can choose where you want to go and what you want to do – and you can do it right now. Being single offers an enormous amount of freedom to take bigger risks like changing your location, or completely changing your career path.

“Follow your dreams, literally. What do you day dream about doing? What comes to you while driving or out on a walk in nature? What do you wake up thinking about doing? What comes in when the rational mind is turned OFF is the dream that could be your reality. Follow it with a gang of people you Love. After all… life is Love, and you are never solo.”

– Viveca Stone-Berry, Author of The Fatigue Be Gone! Jumpstart e-Guide; Founder, The Get Ready For Love! Show – GetReadyForLove.com

Tips from Hallie: One of the things single people feel will make their career transition harder is the fact that they’re alone. Viveca reminds us that this doesn’t have to be true. You have a support network all around you of friends, family, fellow career seekers and career coaches like me. The key is to tap into that network and ask them to help you during your career transition. Identify what you need the most help with whether it’s staying motivated, managing your time while you search for a job after hours, or networking in the field you’re interested in pursuing. Then ask for what you need. Request their support and help, don’t be shy. Friends and family will be happy to support you in pursuing your passion.

“If you’re a single career woman, I’d say now’s the time to take the risks. When you are single, *you* call the shots on your own life. At the end of the day, it’s all about choices and what sacrifices you are choosing to make. This may include forgoing one career for another, or reshuffling things so that you can have BOTH careers, or that old chestnut: deciding that your work is more important than getting married and having kids and the white picket fence.”

– Regina Yau, Associate Director at RUSS Consulting

Tips from Hallie: There really is no perfect time to make a career transition. You need to decide when it’s the right time for you to make the move. You can always come up with reasons not to so I encourage you to set those aside and take the plunge. This doesn’t mean be irrational about it, but don’t let your fears stand in your way. As a single person, you are the only one calling the shots so in some ways making the change can be easier when you’re single. As Regina says, it’s all about choices and what sacrifices you are willing to make. There may be sacrifices, but I promise they are worth it. I always say: small sacrifices, big rewards.

The Final Word on Singles in Career Change…

Bottom line, there is no absolutely perfect time to make a career change. Both situations (single or not) have their pros and cons. It is what it is and you have capitalize on the pros and learn to manage the cons. What you need to do as a career seeker is make the best of the situation you have, create a plan and be smart about the change – but also take a leap of faith. There’s always a risk in career change, you just have to minimize those risks and seek out the support needed to keep you motivated. With patience and experience, you will learn to overcome the obstacles in your way.