5 Critical Job Search Networking Truths

By | Coaches Corner, NextJob, Schools | No Comments

networkingHalf of all job openings are “hidden”; that is, they’re not listed anywhere. Instead, they’re filled through networking, word-of-mouth and direct contact with job seekers. This is why building your brand online and putting it to work for you can mean the difference between finding a job and finding your “dream” job.

You’ve heard it said, “It’s not always what you know, it’s who you know.” It’s also who you can get to know. There is truth in these statements, especially in finding your next job, and there are some good reasons for it.

It’s the same reason employers ask for professional references. Hiring managers want to know who you are, who you know, and that you share their core values.

If you know someone in their network, it’s as if you have already had an initial interview. The hiring manager can rely on your network contact’s recommendation to go to the next step.

Fortunately, your network may be even bigger than you think and it’s important to connect with the right people, in the right way, so they can connect you with the right jobs.

Here are the 5 critical truths to networking your way to your next job:

  1. Don’t be antisocial: Use all of your networks, both personal and online social networks whenever possible. LinkedIn is especially important for establishing and nurturing business relationships.
  2. Be a job-stalker: Evaluate what you want in an employer, what you value, and the best cultural fit for you and follow companies that interest you. Connect with their recruiters, key players, associates and company websites.
  3. Rub some elbows: Seek out professional opportunities to meet these key players in person whether through mutual connections or local industry events.
  4. It’s who you know: Don’t be afraid to ask existing contacts for introductions to make new contacts. You never know where a new connection will lead. Try out asking insiders for time to share their experiences in an informational interview but don’t be pushy – keep it informational.
  5. Make it snappy: Develop and refine the elevator pitch for your personal brand and build your own personal commercial.

For a limited time, job seekers can visit us at for free access to our jobseekers toolkit where they can create their own job search plan.

The Big Unemployment Insurance Write Off

By | Employer, Mortgage, NextJob, Student Lending | No Comments

Just another cost of doing business…or a missed opportunity?bigunempwriteoff_thumb_232

The national unemployment rate has dropped to 5.1%, yet 39% of UI claimants are still “exhausting” their benefits – often at six months which costs employers an average of over $8,000 per claimant.

Some consider these claims a sunk cost, but it doesn’t have to be money down the drain. Research shows that job seekers can improve their likelihood of finding a job by nearly 600% with the right kind of help.

Click here to read this month’s Reemployment Insight, “The Big Unemployment Insurance Write-off” to learn how exhaustee claims and average claims can be reduced by one to two months, saving $1,300 to $2,600 in claimant charges.

For a limited time, job seekers can visit us at for free access to our jobseekers toolkit where they can create their own job search plan.


The “Real” Income Issue Lurking Behind Student Debt and the “Pay As You Earn” Program

By | Employer, NextJob, Schools, Student Lending | No Comments

20121118-student-debtThis past month, the Department of Education proposed expanded eligibility rules for its Pay As You Earn (PAYE) program which is designed to help relieve the debt burden for close to six million students.

The program basically does two things. First, it gives some students the opportunity to have their remaining student debt forgiven after 20 years. Second, it allows student loan payments to be adjusted to better match a borrower’s discretionary income.

The proposed changes are getting mixed reviews with lots of analysis. What’s mostly missing though is a more rigorous focus on the “real” discretionary income issue.

While overall unemployment rates have come down to a seven year low of 5.3% at the end of June 2015 most know that there is much more to the story. Among the most alarming is that for recent college graduates, the statistics have been pretty bleak, with only 52% employed full time 6 months after graduation.[1] Compounding the problem is the fact that 49% of 2013 and 2014 graduates consider themselves underemployed or in a job that does not require a college degree.[2] These are the real income issues in our student debt problem.

At a time when graduates are struggling to find meaningful and lucrative work using their hard earned education, they are also struggling with large student loan balances hanging over their heads. When a student stays unemployed for their first 9 months after graduating, their lost wage opportunity is an average of $33,000,[3] equal to an average graduate’s entire college debt.[4] But what students appear to be more immediately worried about is will they find work that matches their schooling or their passions.

This really hit home for me when, five days before her graduation, I received a frantic call from my niece. Instead of relishing the joy and excitement of finally achieving her goal of graduating from college, she was in tears. She had worked so hard, but was without a job – at least not one that counted. Continuing to work at the local sub shop did not count for her.

Final exams were behind her and the uncertainty of what came next was overwhelming – where she was going to live, how she would learn to effectively look for a job and whether she would be able to land work in her chosen field. Not once did she mention her student loans, which are significant. She did mention that there were no classes on campus on job search and she and most of her classmates had little understanding of what a career center could or would be able to do to help.

Job search is hard – a job all on its own. The job market is tough, but, with more than 50 million hires a year and employers talking talent shortage, jobs are out there. The key is to equip our students with what should be considered a basic life skill – job search readiness. Researching the job market, networking appropriately with confidence, building a personal brand, crafting an accomplishments-based resume, developing the poise and clarity of thought to handle tough interview questions – these are critical skills that will shape a student’s path through an average of 13 jobs in a career and determine the fit and fruitfulness of the bulk of their weekday activities the rest of their working lives.

Adjusting student loan payments may help alleviate some pain, – let’s face it, a lot of pain – but the root cause of the problem and moment of truth for our students as they embark on this next phase of their lives is how they will learn to choose a career path and gain the skills it takes to land a job that’s right for them.

My niece was one of the lucky ones. This fall, she’ll be a music teacher in a school she loves and has signed the lease on her first apartment as a college graduate. She worked hard at her job search and she had job search help. In the process, she developed a critical life skill. Her question to me: “Why don’t they teach this stuff in school???”

For a limited time, job seekers can visit us at for free access to our jobseekers toolkit where they can create their own job search plan.





* To learn more, employers are invited to subscribe to our Reemployment Industry Insights mailing list and job seekers are welcome to subscribe to our Job Search News & Tips mailing list.

1.5 Billion Reasons to Retool UI Work Search

By | Employer, Government, NextJob | No Comments

Our unemployment insurance systehowdoweknow_thumb-160m was born in 1935 and, in some respects, little has changed. In particular, the work search requirement in most states has remained largely the same – contact a couple of employers each week and let the state know about it, proactively, or in many states, only if asked. But this approach has two major problems.

First, states rely mostly on claimants policing themselves, kind of like asking drivers to self-report when they break the speed limit. The national overpayment rate to those not complying with work search requirements is 4.5% of annual claims, costing employers over $1.5 billion for the year ending June 30, 2014. For context, that’s more than 15 times the cost of one of the Department of Labor’s more effective job search programs (the Reemployment Eligibility Assessment program).

Worse, the federal measure tends to understate what may really be happening. Evidence suggests 4.5% is a gross understatement and that one third or more of claimants are not willing to comply with work search requirements.

The second problem is that the required level of job search activity is low and can take just one hour to complete – that’s less than 1/4th the time the average person watches TV each day (4 hours). This is a low level of encouragement for someone who is unemployed and suddenly has a lot of time on their hands and needs work. Because the average UI claimant’s benefits are about half of their prior pay level, every week of added unemployment is costly in many ways.

Fortunately, there’s a better way – states can now use 100% verifiable work search activities that are equally or more valuable than contacting a couple of employers each week. For example, some states are requiring claimants to take online job search training because claimants rate their training at a C-/D+. States could require other similar online activities, such as inventorying their skills, building a resume and posting it, using online networking, etc.

How can employers help? UI agencies are sensitive to their Work Search Integrity rates. To see your state’s overpayment rates, click here. Then ask your state agency staff about the rate and whether they’ve considered moving to fully verifiable job search activities? Some would suggest they are about 1.5 billion reasons to do so.

Click here for more on this topic including a by the numbers look at the “Odds of Getting Caught”.

For a limited time, job seekers can visit us at for free access to our jobseekers toolkit where they can create their own job search plan.

Coach Spotlight – Meet Tara Orchard

By | Coaches Corner, Employer, Mortgage, NextJob, Schools | No Comments

TaraTara Orchard, MA., is a Career Transition and Performance and Social Networking Coach. For over 20 years she has provided tangible and actionable insights and perspective to individuals and organizations seeking to develop strategies to adapt and grow.

Tara was advising on Social Networking and personal branding a long time before it was in vogue. She is a freelance writer featured in two business magazines and a member of the Advisory Board for the Career Professionals of Canada. She holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Psychology and is certified in numerous career, personality and psychology assessment tools.

As a career coach Tara brings over 20 years of experience working with thousands of individuals in different industries and careers, from around the world, at different stages of their career. She challenges people to ask themselves questions about who they are and what they want and need. Tara believes in Career Agility and finding an intersection between what is possible and what is realistic today as a part of the process for navigating an ongoing Career Journey. Tara has developed a 4 step career navigation process, “Discover, Prepare, Build, Actualize’ and a 5 step psychologically infused social networking strategy for career and business success ‘Ready, Set, Go, Focus and Flow” and is always looking for new ways to help people build and actualize their personal career journey.

What one piece of core advice would Tara share with job seekers in today’s market?

“Always remain aware and open. A successful career is not built in a day but over time through a series of events, opportunities and decisions requiring smart and proactive navigation. By constantly staying aware, which includes self-awareness, industry, career and economy awareness people can position themselves to be ready when an opportunity presents itself or are capable of creating an opportunity when needed or desired.

Part of the awareness process for career building includes understanding your career brand, a tool useful for both career direction and career marketing. An effective brand is built on awareness and then showcased through your words, content and materials (resumes, social profiles) and actions. All the pieces of the career building and navigation puzzle are more likely to come together when awareness remains on your radar.”

As a career coach Tara helps facilitate the process of gathering information and gaining insight to build awareness, identify new opportunities and help develop tangible and actionable strategies that can help someone move along the next phase of their career journey.

For more career coaching advice from Tara, follow her on twitter at @CareerChatter or connect with her on LinkedIn.

For a limited time, job seekers can visit us at for free access to our jobseekers toolkit where they can create their own job search plan.

Dissecting Frogs and a Life Skill Gap That We Can’t Afford

By | Employer, Government, NextJob, Schools | No Comments

FrogThere’s a lot of talk these days about skill gaps – a need for software programmers, engineers, etc. but not enough trained to fill the jobs US employers have open. Less is said about another skill gap – job search skills – the skill it takes for a software programmer to find the right employer, present themselves well and land the job in which they will thrive.

In a study of job seekers in two states, we’ve found that job seekers rate their job search readiness at a C-/D+. This is disturbing. In the average American’s working years, we’ll spend the bulk of our waking hours working in our jobs. But to land those jobs, we spend less time learning job search than we spend learning our smart phones.

I’ve been asking why and how this could be. How could we be so undereducated and unprepared to affect our career outcomes – the number one source of our income and financial well-being over the course of our lives. Ask any recent high school or college grad you know, for example, and the odds are you’ll hear them say – “No, I never really learned much about landing a job.”

Certainly since evolution of public education in the 1800s job search has become vastly more complicated.

Are our schools giving enough support and focus on what their career counselors are teaching – a life skill on par with personal finance?

So where do we learn job search? Where did you learn it? Chances are that you didn’t learn it well. For example, you may have landed your first job or and about half of your jobs, through someone you know. You may have essentially fallen into the job. After all, about half of all jobs are filled through networking. The chances are also great that you have not practiced job search even if you’ve learned it at some point. Americans change jobs, on average, every 3.5 years, which gives us little opportunity to stay sharp.

In the high school biology classes many states mandate, many of us learned how to dissect a frog, which was not only cool, but now part of the great movement in STEM. Perhaps a few weeks of learning the science of job search and dissecting its various parts would be a worthwhile addition for all of our students planning to look for a job?

For a limited time, job seekers can visit us at for free access to our jobseekers toolkit where they can create their own job search plan.

Coach Spotlight – Meet Dixie Bullock

By | Coaches Corner, Employer, Mortgage, NextJob, Schools | No Comments

Dixie is a Coach Team Manager at NextJob where she manages a team of job coaches and is also the Quality Survey Manager. Dixie joined NextJob in 2010, as a Certified Homeownership Counselor (through NCHEC). Her non-profit work includes housing counseling, delinquency and foreclosure prevention anddixieprofile financial education.

Dixie’s coaching and employment-related services experience include over 15 years in staffing, recruiting, training, and job-matching while delivering exceptional service and solutions to a large client-base in a variety of industries and skill levels. With an aptitude for decision-making and problem solving, she has been consistently successful in gathering information and providing guidance while helping others feel empowered about next steps, possible outcomes and options.

Dixie was recently a featured job coach in the BrandOfYou JobTwitterViews event held on May 19, 2015 offering coaching advice to contestants vying for one of the 1,000 available coaching scholarships being offered through @FifthThird bank.

What one piece of advice would Dixie give to job seekers out there?

“Develop a concise, descriptive, accomplishment-based branding statement/60-second commercial. You’ll get a lot of mileage out of that content. It can be used in cover letters, resume career profile and online applications in the “comments box,” and of course in interviews when asked to “tell a little about yourself.”

For more career coaching advice from Dixie, follow her on twitter at @DixiebDixie or connect with her on LinkedIn.

For a limited time, job seekers can visit us at for free access to our jobseekers toolkit where they can create their own job search plan.

Why didn’t I think of that?

By | Coaches Corner, Employer, Mortgage | No Comments

Over the past few days, I’ve had the pleasure of listening to some of our job seekers talk about their experiences working with their job coaches. I started to see a common thread and it was a simple question: “Why didn’t I think of that?”

They were talking specifically about advice they were getting from their coaches around personal branding and use of social media to make connections and be visible in the hidden job market. This is such an important part of a job search today, since many available jobs are not actually published. In fact, it’s a sobering thought when you realize that maybe as many as 50% of the available jobs out there are not listed on a job board, or in the paper or even at the local workforce agency office. That amounts to approximately 25 million job openings a year that you have to go out and find on your own.

There are many ways to seek out these hidden jobs, and personal branding plays a big part in each of them. But what made this simple question surprising to me was that some were millennials – the generation that is extremely tech savvy and adept with social media. It seems that they don’t use it to connect with people in their field in a meaningful way – people that may have connections to hidden jobs.

These are job seekers that know about technology, with thousands of Twitter and Instagram followers, so I kept coming back to the basic question they shared, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

I think the answer has more to do with “state of mind” than anything else. I recently met with a client of ours who said that job seekers are just “lost and don’t know what to do.” Whether you are just graduating from school and are without a job or have lost your job of 10-20 years, just about everyone feels a little lost. We’re outside of our comfort zone and feeling a bit insecure. For non-tech-savvy job seekers, the problem is worse – some don’t even own a computer.

The good news is that there are many forward thinking organizations that recognize that job seekers need some real guidance. Whether it is the many employers purchasing outplacement for their exiting employees or banks such as Fifth Third Bank, M&T Bank and USAA, who offer it to their mortgage holders, real help is available.

And, the job seekers we see, couldn’t be happier. One Millennial said she felt 10 times more confident now about her ability to find a job than she did before working with her coach.

For a limited time, job seekers can visit us at for free access to our jobseekers toolkit where they can create their own job search plan.

The Fifth Third Program

By | Mortgage | One Comment

The Program

NextJob matched unemployed Fifth Third customers with a personal job coach. The NextJob service included one-on-one coaching on topics from career direction to social media interviewing, NextJob’s proprietary online job search training software, and weekly job search webinars.

The Result

On average, the participants had been out of work for 22 months. Nearly 40% were fully reemployed after six months. As a result, Fifth Third Bank incorporated the program into the way the Bank does business — including offering a free, online Job Seeker’s Toolkit for all of its customers.

Moving past the gap

By | Mortgage | No Comments

The Movement

Retweet to Reemploy is a new website and movement giving the American public a chance to activate their social networks to help a group of job seekers connect with their next employer. You can see the job seekers’ videos at the Retweet to Reemploy site and you can retweet each job seeker’s story from the site. Your connections can help match the job seekers with their next job.

The Gap

Job seekers rate their job search readiness at a D+ average. Because employers make half of all hires through networking, the Retweet to Reemploy campaign’s focus on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook is a reminder to all job seekers that their network of family, friends, neighbors and former co-workers can be a powerful path to their next job.

Your Part
We need your help. Please take a minute to see the site and job seeker videos – they’re powerful. Then 1) retweet the site or the story; 2) share it on LinkedIn and Facebook and/or 3) email it to your network. For every 53 retweets, Fifth Third will fund a job coach package for another job seeker. And in the process, you will spread the word about networking – one of the most misunderstood job search techniques.

You can follow the campaign at and our work at @nextjobthoughts and @fifththird.

Together we can help eliminate long-term unemployment.