Category: Out-of-the-box career advice


What Are the Best Alternatives to Online Job Boards?

With all of those who’ve lost their jobs from the COVID-19 crisis, online job boards are expected to be flooded with job seekers once quarantine bans begin to lift and jobs start to re-open.

Even before the virus, these boards have been filled with a sea of job seekers. This means there’s always a lot of competition on these boards. Which is exactly why they should be a last resort for serious candidates.

A job search can take up a lot of time. In fact, you should expect to spend at least 20 hours a week on your job search. Yeah, it’s a job in and of itself!

Therefore, you definitely want to use your time wisely. You don’t want to waste it sifting through a ton of irrelevant jobs. Because let’s face it, search filters aren’t always good at weeding out the jobs you don’t want.

You also don’t want to waste your time getting lost in the herd. Popular online job boards are often a virtual cattle call.

So where should you look for jobs?

Typically the answer is through networking. But this is a challenge while quarantined. So right now you may have to spend more time searching for jobs online.

Where should you look online besides the go-to sites everyone else flocks to? How should you do so without wasting too much of your precious time?

Here are a few suggestions to help you use your time wisely and find more jobs related to what you’re seeking.

5 best alternatives to popular online job boards

1. Industry-specific online job boards

While everyone else typically starts with the most popular online job sites, it’s better to search for online job boards relevant to the specific industry in which you’re seeking employment. While not all industries have their own job boards, most do.

This is extremely helpful in saving you the time from having to weed out the irrelevant jobs that slip through search filters.

2. Professional association sites

Professional associations related to your industry or job function can accomplish the same thing. Many relevant companies will list their openings on these sites because they know they’ll attract people with the right experience.

I found two of my own jobs through professional associations when I was working in college career services. They were one of the first places I searched both times I was looking to relocate.

Keep in mind however, you usually have to be a member of the association in order to see the job listings or to receive notifications about openings. It’s likely your current company is already paying for those membership fees.

If not, you may have to join on your own and pay the fee out of your own pocket. This could be a good investment though. Especially since professional associations also provide a built-in network right at your finger tips. You can build relationships with other members who may know of something coming open.

3. Company websites

Individual company websites are the best place to start! This is because it doesn’t cost the company anything to post a job on their own site. Therefore, they’ll likely post openings here before they do anywhere else.

The added benefit of going to a company site first is you can learn more about the company’s mission and core values. This will help you know a little more about what it’s like to work there. Of course, you want to ask more about company culture in your interview, but this is a good place to start.

4. LinkedIn’s advanced search

Most people who use the job ads feature on LinkedIn aren’t aware of just how specific they can get with their search. I’ve had to show several clients how to use the advanced search feature because it’s not very intuitive or user-friendly.

Plus, LinkedIn often changes its platform functionality pretty frequently. So, once you figure out how to find something on LinkedIn, you usually have to learn it all over again due to such changes.

As of the time of this writing, you want to follow these steps:

  1. Put your cursor in the search bar at the top of the LinkedIn home page without typing anything.
  2. Click on the “jobs” button from the menu which appears under the search bar.
  3. Go over all the way to the far right of the jobs menu and click “All filters.”

From the “all filters” screen, you can narrow down your search to not just the basic criteria you would expect, but also more specific criteria, such as:

  • Jobs only posted in the past week or even the past 24 hours.
  • Opportunities with only less than 10 applicants.
  • Remote jobs.
  • Jobs offering certain benefits like student loan assistance or paid maternity and paternity leave.
  • Opportunities with fair-chance employers.
  • And more!

These filters let you start broad and narrow down, or begin with a specific focus and expand from there.

5. LinkedIn groups

Joining LinkedIn groups related to your industry or job function is a good way to see the latest information circulating about those industries. This includes which companies are hiring.

Granted, LinkedIn used to do a much better job of separating the job postings within groups from the other group discussions. But you can still find hiring announcements within the group’s feed. You just need to scroll through it more frequently, preferably once a day.

You can also set your notifications to receive updates from your various groups.

LinkedIn lets you join up to 50 groups. And there is some strategy involved in choosing which groups to join, and how to make the most of them. This is something I teach my clients how to do.

Conclusion

If you’ve suddenly found yourself in a job search and you’re already frustrated with online job boards, you have other options. You don’t have to feel like a number or part of the herd, wondering if your resume is lost in some black cyberspace hole.

paNASH can help! Career coaching services include ways to be more strategic with your job search, how to use LinkedIn to its full capacity, how to negotiate a better salary, and more!

Get started by filling out the paNASH intake form to schedule a complimentary coaching call. Filling out the form does not obligate you in any way. I look forward to hearing from you and helping you!

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How to Know If You Should Apply for a Job You’re Not Qualified For

I have several clients who think if they don’t check off all the boxes of requirements on a job ad, they can’t apply for the job. But let me tell you a little story…

You never know what can happen

…When I was just coming out of grad school, I applied for a director’s level position without any full-time professional experience. I knew I was unqualified for the director’s position. But I was interested in it and applied anyway to see what would happen.

Of course I was rejected. But then the company called me because the assistant director position had also just come open. They wanted to know if I was interested in it.

I was much more qualified for this role and was indeed very interested. They offered me the job a few days after my interview! I was so excited because it was my first “real job” out of school.

I say all this to show you never know what can happen. You have nothing to lose but the time it takes to apply.

The truth about the job ad

Most job ads read more like the hiring manager’s “wish list” instead of a realistic request. It’s highly unlikely one person will have all the desired qualifications from the job ad.

As a result, if they aren’t getting the qualified candidate pool they’d hoped for, they’ll likely re-write the job description to reflect a more realistic expectation of qualifications.

When to apply for the job

My recommendation is, if you have at least 65-75% of the qualifications they’re looking for, go ahead and apply and see what happens. Especially if you have any of the preferred qualifications in addition to some of the required qualifications.

But only do so if you have a genuine interest in the job. Never apply for a job you have no intentions of taking just to gain interview practice. This is unethical.

What to do while you wait for a response

While you’re waiting to hear back, see if there is a way for you to learn some of the requirements you’re lacking through a online tutorials or MOOCs. (See the list of educational alternatives in my recent post “How to Know If You Should Go Back to School“.)

Be understanding if they decide they don’t want you, and don’t let the rejection get to you. Instead, be open if they contact you for a job that’s a step-down and is more in line with your current qualifications.

Then in your interview, ask if there are opportunities for future advancement after being with the company for a certain period of time.

Conclusion

I recommend being selective when using the approach above.

If you don’t feel comfortable applying for a job you’re not qualified for, then perhaps you’d be more comfortable doing an informational interview to learn more about what it takes to end up in such a job. (To learn more about informational interviews, check out the on-demand program, The Secret to Successful Networking: How to Do It Naturally and Effectively.)

At the very least you’ll become more aware of the hidden job market and the skills you need to develop.

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Why Focus Is So Important in the Job Search

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you have to find a job, any job, and fast? My clients usually find themselves in one of two situations:

1. They’re at a place in their career where they can take the time to be more intentional in discovering the most meaningful next step for their career.

2. They’re suddenly out of a job they had no intentions of leaving, often due to a layoff. They need a replacement job  fast.

The latter situation is where clients feel they don’t have the luxury to be picky with their next job. But if they aren’t somewhat selective, they can delay the time it will take to find their next opportunity.

How a lack of focus hurts your job search

Even if you find yourself in a desperate situation, you should resist the temptation to take the first job offer you get. You should also resist the temptation to apply to any and every job you see advertised.

Employers and recruiters can recognize a lack of focus immediately just from reading your resume and cover letter. Also, lack of focus is especially evident if you’re applying for several different jobs with the same company.

Both of these things can send up red flags for employers. They don’t want to pursue a candidate who lacks focus or seems desperate.

This in turn can delay finding a job and extend the length of your job search. In addition, the rejection will erode your confidence. And lack of confidence will hurt you in any future interviews you land. All of this can make you more desperate, which creates a vicious cycle.

A better use of your time

You can improve your job search by taking the time you would spend in the cycle described above and instead using it to develop focus. This will keep you on track with the average time it takes to find a job. Also, it will help you find a more fulfilling job and perhaps one with a higher salary.

In addition, by not taking the first offer that comes along, you’ll likely reduce the chances of having to look for something better again a year or so later. This will save you the time it will take to do a second job search after you realize you’ve wasted time in the wrong job.

How to gain focus

There are a lot of ways to determine what your focus should be in your next job search. One way is by making the kind of three-prong list of must-haves for your next job, compromises, and icing-on-the-cake items as described in my post “How to Know If You’re In the Wrong Job.

But often it requires an even deeper dive into such things as your personal and career values, transferable skills, talents, gifts, weaknesses, goals, vision, personal mission, the current job market, and more.

Then, you want to take all of this and see where and how all these things fit together. This part often requires a second pair of eyes to help you see which opportunities you might be missing.

Many clients come to me needing help with this. They find it difficult to figure out their unique differentiators and where those fit in a new career path all on their own.

If this is something you know you need help with, you can start either with paNASH’s on-demand online video courses, or with one-on-one personalized coaching. These resources are designed to help you focus on finding the right fit and to help you stay focused for a successful job search.

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A Google Insider Shares His Interview Advice

I often publish posts on Medium, a platform designed to bring readers interesting takes on important topics. Whatever your interests, you can always find fresh thinking and unique perspectives on Medium. One of my most viral posts on Medium was the one entitled “Get Interview Advice From an Insider at Google.”

The reason this post was so popular was because many Medium readers are techies with hopes and dreams of working in Silicon Valley at places like Google and Facebook. Interviews at such companies are very unique and they often ask questions you wouldn’t hear in interviews with other companies or industries.

But even if you’re not interviewing with Google, the interview question in this post could potentially be asked in your next interview. So pay attention to the advice from this Google insider!

Can you teach me something complex in five minutes?

How would you answer the interview question, “Can you teach me something complex in five minutes?”

The following response was originally published on Quora by Google insider and Google’s hiring manager, David Seidman. He’s graciously allowed me to publish his advice here under a new headline and format.

This is a great interview question and the answer can’t be faked.

Before you even send out applications, you should know your strongest skill, the thing you would compete on if you only had one. It might be your college thesis topic, your favorite project at work, or the job you held the longest.

To answer the question, think of something that is surprising about your field, something that most people in the field know but most people outside it don’t.

For example, in security, most people don’t realize how common and successful nation-state hacking is.

You should be able to state this in 1–2 sentences.

The reasons to use something surprising are that you will teach the interviewer something in the first two sentences and you will interest and engage them for the remainder of your answer.

Then, describe why people believe the incorrect thing.

What underlying facts do they believe to be true that are false?

How did they come to believe the false things?

What is the truth and how do we know it?

Did experts always know this truth or is it a recent discovery?

As you proceed, check occasionally to make sure your interviewer is familiar with any technical terms you use.

If you still have time, you can talk about the implications.

Are people afraid of the wrong things or not afraid when they should be?

What should be done and by whom?

How is this relevant to the company you’re interviewing with?

In the best case, your interviewer will want to hire you so they can learn more from you and so that you can fix the problem you just described for their company!

When I first saw this question, I wondered to myself how I would’ve answered this question if I’d been asked it in one of my previous job interviews.

The example I first thought of was one from my past experience working with songwriters and recording artists in the music industry: the process of how a song shoots up the charts and becomes a hit.

It’s something most people in the music industry understand, but people outside the industry don’t.

And a lot of it is very surprising to the outsiders. And very interesting.

Then I read David’s advice above and was glad to see I was somewhat on the right track.

I chose to post his response here on my blog because, as a career coach, I thought it was spot-on!

The biggest challenge with my example however is it would probably be difficult for me to make the song charting process relevant to a traditional company in another industry.

But this would just give me the opportunity to show my creativity and my ability to connect the dots between things that, at first glance, seem irrelevant.

What are your thoughts on this question?

How would you answer it?

What skill do you possess you’d try to highlight in your answer?

If you’re drawing a blank on the skill you would use in your own answer, you’re not the only one. Many of my clients come to me needing help in determining their transferable skills. They also come to me needing help on how to answer difficult interview questions. This is something I love to work on with my clients.

Is this something you also need help with? If so, take a moment to fill out the paNASH intake form to get started.

Finally, I would love to hear yours and others’ thoughts on this topic, so please respond in the comment box below!

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The Best New Year’s Resolutions To Boost Your Career

The best new year’s resolutions to boost your career aren’t just resolutions. They’re also commitments. If you commit to incorporating even just one of the following resolutions into your career for this new year and new decade, I guarantee you’ll see a return on your investment of time and energy.

Resolutions guaranteed to boost your career

1. Deepen your knowledge and become an expert

Take the favorite part of your job or know-how and deepen your current knowledge of it so you can establish yourself as an expert in this area. Doing so can open doors for you down the road.

For instance, it can lead to a promotion, or it could make you a sought-after consultant in your industry. This could allow you to become independent and set your own hours and salary.

Start by reading as many books on your subject as possible. Once you deepen your knowledge on your chosen subject, you can then start to share this knowledge along with your experience by writing articles and speaking on panels or podcasts about it.

This is a way to serve as a resource for others in your field. It also gives you credibility which can begin your journey toward career advancement and career independence.

2. Use creativity when solving problems

Does your current job allow you enough freedom to be able to solve problems in different ways? If so, don’t be afraid to try new ways of solving old problems and see what happens.

If you’re able to invent a better way from what’s always been done in the past and you’re able to share your best practices, you’re for sure on your way to becoming an expert in your field.

3. Learn a new skill

While you’re spending time becoming an expert in your field, don’t forget to also take time to learn a new skill.

For instance, if you think you eventually want to become an independent consultant in your area of expertise, take some time to learn some digital marketing skills to help you promote your service to your potential client base.

Or, learn a skill you may need in a higher-level position if you were to get promoted.

4. Adapt

In addition to learning a new skill to advance your career, don’t forget to also learn the things you need to keep up with your industry. Things change rapidly in today’s world of work. It’s important to adapt to industry trends and changes to remain relevant.

5. Always be networking

You knew I was going to say this, right? Always, always, always build and maintain your network. Networking is important throughout your career, especially if you decide to leave your job to work for yourself.

Reach out and reconnect with old contacts and create new ones. Set a goal for yourself in this new year for a specific number of people you plan to reconnect with. Then set a goal for how many new people you want to add to your network this year.

You may even want to set a goal for how many networking events you plan to attend each month or how many one-on-one conversations you plan to schedule.

6. Resolve to do less

While all of the above suggestions may sound like more things to add to your already busy to-do list, you may have to let go of some things to make room for your new commitments and resolutions. But it’s important to know which ones to let go of.

Learn to let go of and say no to anything that doesn’t support your personal mission statement (see my post entitled “How to Make Your Big Decisions More Simple“). Also, let go of and say no to anything that isn’t a building block for your personal and professional goals.

7. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, update your resume every six months, even when you’re not looking for a job. You never know when you’ll be invited to serve on a panel or speak at an event (especially when you start fulfilling the above commitments and resolutions). When this happens, the coordinator of the event will likely ask you for a copy of your most recent résumé.

You’ll want to include the new skills you’re developing, the results of your new creative problem solving, and the speaking engagements you’re giving and articles you’re publishing on your area of expertise.

You’ll also want to update your LinkedIn profile and add to it your new contacts from your networking efforts.

Resolutions work if you’re committed

Making resolutions and keeping resolutions are two different things. It’s easy to make resolutions. It’s not easy to keep them. Therefore they will require commitment on your part.

To help you stay committed to your goals and resolutions, subscribe to the paNASH newsletter and receive a free download of the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan. This free resource is designed to get you out of your rut and get you moving toward success.

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