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 http://www.nextjob.com/scholarships/recent-grads/ 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 http://www.nextjob.com/scholarships/recent-grads/ 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 http://www.nextjob.com/scholarships/recent-grads/ for free access to our jobseekers toolkit where they can create their own job search plan.

[1] https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-2015-accenture-college-graduate-employment-research.aspx

[2] https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-2015-accenture-college-graduate-employment-research.aspx

[3] https://www.naceweb.org/s04022014/starting-salary-class-2014.aspx.

[4] http://college.usatoday.com/2014/08/26/how-much-student-loan-debt-is-too-much-2/.

* 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.

4 Steps to Finding Direction in Your Job Search

By | Coaches Corner, NextJob | No Comments

A friend told me about driving a long open stretch of highway in Idaho and seeing a sign along the roadside: “You Sure Are Lost, But You’re Making Great Time!”

road-4539_640Are you making great time, but wondering if you’re headed in the right direction? It may help you to figure out where you are and where you want to go by stepping back and asking yourself a few questions.

Generally, taking this step back is the first forward step toward building a solid list of jobs that you’ll love and where you’ll thrive.

So what are the 4 steps to finding direction? You may notice that the title of this post did not say 4 “easy” steps. That’s not to say that the work involved is hard, but it does require work and some concentrated thought.

  1. First, you need to study how you’re built. We’re all built uniquely with different combinations of passions, personality, talents, experiences and values. Take some time to dig deep into yours. As you do, you’ll broaden your view beyond simply choosing a career that matches what you’ve done and where you’ve done it. And you also narrow your view to those companies and jobs that truly fit who you are and let thrive by being yourself. Along your path consider some of the free personality assessments available on the internet. Google the topic or visit the for example, the Job Hunter’s Bible site.
  1. Once you have studied how you’re built, build your job criteria. Take what you have learned about yourself and prioritize it to match up with job opportunities. Pick the most important traits how you’re built, put them together and rank them.
  1. Next, identify your options. Explore occupations and Labor Market Information to choose job types that will fit who you are. Try the My Skills My Future (myskillsmyfuture.org) site, a free tool, from the US Department of Labor, to match your skills and prior jobs to other jobs that will likely fit you well. Also use this tool to develop key words employer use to match your resume to open jobs.
  1. Your last step to finding direction is looking for ways to fill in any skills gaps by gaining knowledge and experience. Job shadowing, volunteering, internships, freelancing or taking temporary jobs may all be a great fit for you. Be creative and have fun.

Once you’ve done the work, don’t forget to create your action plan and follow it. It’s not enough to know the path you also need to map it out and walk it.

Stay strong, stay focused and you will increase your chance of landing that dream job that fits how you’ve been uniquely built.

Visit us at http://www.nextjob.com/scholarships/recent-grads/ for free access to our jobseekers toolkit and create your own action plan. (Available for a limited time.)

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 http://www.nextjob.com/scholarships/recent-grads/ for free access to our jobseekers toolkit where they can create their own job search plan.