SKILLS VERSUS NEEDS

Posted on: July 27th, 2021 by
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A major issue since Covid-19 is beginning to wane:  Company-sponsored training and development programs have been curtailed for the past year or so.  Hiring managers require new hires to be up to date on their skills for top performance.  Lack of training over the past 16 months has put everyone behind the curve.

 

For companies, it’s a “make or buy” dilemma.  Does the company create the talent internally or buy the talent on the open market?  Does your company train and promote from within or does it go to the outside marketplace for replacement talent?  For the individual, was your company smart enough to create an internal learning center?  Have you taken on-line courses and certifications during the year?  Will your next company have a strong internal training program?  These questions must be answered or you can find yourself increasingly behind the talent curve.  So, what do you do?  Here are some ideas:

 

  • Take the initiative and suggest to your boss that you add skills and knowledge to your job with on-line programs and courses.  Increase your value to the company. The company should provide the time and cost of the programs/courses.
  • Talk to Human Resources about internal programs that are available to you, either through a company or external program.  Stress the need to update the skills that will be necessary in the next few years.
  • Since all companies are competing for available talent, find out what the marketplace is looking for in your field. Are you ahead or behind the talent pool in your expertise?  Compare the prospects you are finding in the marketplace with the opportunities you see within your company.
  • Consider changing industries if your skills are transferable. Some industries have a ratio of 3 job openings for every professional applying.  Other industries have the reverse ratio, with multiple experienced employees for every job available.  A shift to a different industry can accelerate your career and promotional opportunities.
  • Jobs that are in demand with a small supply of talent are paid more, have a faster-track to promotion and a wider opportunity to your choice of employer
  • Be flexible in your work patterns. Be available for positions working 100% remotely, to those jobs that are 100% office only, and any other combinations in between.  Your adaptability can mean the difference between being a top candidate or not.
  • Technology has changed and advanced in the past 18 months. Make sure you are caught up with those changes.  One of the first thing a hiring manager will check out is your computer and technical skills to fill an open position.  Those candidates that are behind the required skills are the first to be dropped from consideration.

 

Now is a great time to accelerate your career, get new skills and experiences, or even secure a promotion.  The marketplace is open for business. The demand for talent provides opportunities for those who are prepared.

 

For a FREE critique of your resume, send to: wkaufmann44@gmail.com


FINDING REMOTE JOBS (WFH)

Posted on: July 20th, 2021 by
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Two or more years ago, working-from-home (WFH) or remote jobs were few and far between.  Many of those jobs were selling a product or service for a commission.  Not a very lucrative or interesting vocation. That has all changed with the Covid-19 pandemic.  Over the past 18 months, employers have been frantic to find talented employees who have remote work experience and can add high performance to their working groups.  Now, the trend is reversing itself.  Employers want employees back in the office or work a hybrid cycle of working both from home and the office.

 

There are some events that have made the transition more difficult.  Here are a few:

  • Training slowed way down when offices closed and training staffs were reduced
  • Now, re-training and catch-up training are paramount since the technology has advanced. Needed skill sets are lagging
  • Remote jobs are reducing since office jobs are increasing. On the other hand, employees are resisting the shift from remote WFH to commuting to offices
  • Open jobs are accelerating due to the expansion of business. Also many workers don’t want to shift from their remote work to office work and are quitting
  • In the United States, this past April saw 4 million employees quit their jobs. A record for the past 20 years.
  • Workers working remotely have much greater job opportunities as part of a national or international marketplace than office workers who commute locally
  • Over 40% of workers around the world would consider leaving their jobs for new opportunities with a more flexible work environment to include WFH.

 

So, what are your options if you want to continue working remotely?  Here are some considerations:

  • If you’re searching on-line ads, LinkedIn or corporate websites, make sure you match the position description to your resume, focusing on remote work experience. The greater the match the higher the likelihood the hiring manager will be interested in you.
  • If you’re using a major job search website, after inputting your job function, title, or key word in the “what” segment, add the word “remote”. This will scroll up only those jobs that are either full-time or flexible remote jobs.  In the “where” segment, write in the state in which you’re interested.  Or write “United States” to get all of the open remote jobs in your function across the country.  If you work remotely, you can live anywhere.
  • Some websites will match your resume with remote job opportunities, then email you the applications that have been submitted. One such website is: Apply4Me.
  • The best website for different types of candidates are:  Experienced Managers: The Ladders.  Startup jobs: AngelList.  Direct contact with recruiters: LinkedIn.  Up-to-date Listings: Getwork.  Recent College Graduates: Scouted.  Hourly Workers: Snagajob.  Remote jobs: FlexJobs.

 

Consider three factors when deciding on a search method:  What is the cost versus the benefit of the search, the time saved and the targeted point of focus.  You can save a great deal of time and effort while optimizing your search with the right decision.

 

For a FREE critique of your resume, send to: wkaufmann44@gmail.com


ARE YOU THE SOLUTION?

Posted on: July 13th, 2021 by
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If you’re not the solution to a hiring manager’s needs, then someone else is.  You must show that you’re the answer to the requirements of the open position. This should be documented on your resume, the screening interview and in discussions with the hiring manager.  If you’re not the solution the organization is looking for, then you’ll always come in second-best.

 

So, how do you become the candidate of choice as the “solution” candidate?  Here are some thoughts for your consideration:

 

  • First, you need to understand what the issues are, and the expectations of the organization. This can be achieved initially, three ways:
    • Scrutinize the position description and learn the key words to describe the requirements.  Also the experiences necessary to be the solution candidate.
    • Ask the question, “Just out of curiosity, what was it about my resume that piqued your interest?”. The answer will give you a critical insight into the issues the organization is trying to solve.  Also show the specific experiences you’ve had that they believe may be the answer.
    • You will usually be asked, “What questions do you have of us?”.  Answer with the question, “What are the expectations for results within the first 12 months?”  That should reveal a great deal about not only their issues, but the opportunities to contribute to their results.
  • Second, you need to present potential answers to their issues. Your prior experiences must be applied to their specific concerns.  Provide them with a similar comparative situation, identify impediments that you overcame, alternatives you considered, and the solution you implemented.  Your past experiences must come as close as possible to the hiring manager’s issues. They can then see a direct link between what you’ve done, to what they need.
  • Third, factually describe the before-and-after example of what you did, how you did it, and the outcome of the situation.  Tell your story using measurable data and evidence of what you did in the past.  Show how you can do it again in the open position.
  • Fourth, expand your answers within the interview.  Focus on those attributes that most organizations are looking for in a candidate.  Emphasize that you engage and involve team members. You can be both a leader or an active participant within a group.  You are flexible and adaptive.  You are collegial not competitive. And your goal-oriented toward what’s in the best interests of the business.

when all is said and done, the hiring manager is not primarily interested in you as a personality.  Their primary interest is whether you can do the job that needs to be done.  Can you achieve the objectives they have identified?  Are you the solution to their issues?  Do you fit their organization as a contributor and not a disruptor.

 

For a FREE critique of your resume, send to: wkaufmann44@gmail.com


ARE YOU IN TROUBLE?

Posted on: July 6th, 2021 by
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There are generally two types of concerns leading to termination:  Performance and policy violations. Sometimes the concern is a judgement call in the eyes of the beholder.  So, what are the causes, signs and types of termination, and for what?

 

A survey from “Career Builder” defines some surprising causes of termination:

  • 22% are fired for calling-ins to your boss as “unavailable for work” with a fake excuse
  • 24% are fired for using the Internet for a non-work-related activity
  • 41% are fired for being consistently late
  • 17% are fired for posting something on social media that’s unauthorized or negative

One question to ask: Are these reasons a result of working remotely, but the policies are a legacy from an office environment? Have the policies changed with working remotely?

 

So, what are other common reasons for employees being terminated?  Here are some:

  • Fibbing on your resume. The implications to fabricating experiences or past results can lead to termination and even a lawsuit.  It’s not worth it.
  • Drug or Alcohol Possession at Work. Most policies state that under the influence at work shall be cause for termination or prosecution by the authorities
  • Sub-standard performance. Check in with your boss periodically so you’re not surprised. However, make sure the results expected are not impossible.
  • Stealing or destroying company property. This can range from a ream of paper to pulling the fire alarm as a prank.  Be careful about “borrowing” company equipment.
  • Taking too much time off. There’s usually a policy about sick days and absences. Intermittent time off is a problem when others are dependent upon you.
  • This can be a grey area unless confrontational. Refusal to follow instructions, obstructing the work of others, or counter-communications are examples.
  • Using a company computer for personal use. Have both a personal and company computer.  Never watch a movie, send emails or play a game on company equipment.
  • Violating Company Policy.Know what the policies are.  If a question arises, ask your supervisor. Sticky issues: Office dating, social media comments, company information.

 

What are some of the signs that there’s a problem?

  • Your role or responsibilities shrink Instead of expanding
  • New assignments, tasks or opportunities pass you by
  • Feedback is negative and performance appraisals are less than satisfactory
  • You are given tasks that are beyond your capability or training.

 

Termination “for cause” is much more problematic than a termination due to a reorganization, merger or even performance.  “For cause” means a major policy was breached like sexual harassment, stealing, insubordination or drug use at work.  A termination for performance can be toned-down during an interview by relegating the issue to the company’s lack of training, unreasonable supervisor or unusual circumstances.

 

Summary:  Very seldom is termination a surprise.  The indicators and steps toward termination are visible.  Know company policies and check out performance periodically.

 

For a FREE critique of your resume, send to: wkaufmann44@gmail.com


ARE YOU THE ONE IN FIVE?

Posted on: June 29th, 2021 by
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One in five workers leave their current jobs to find other work.  I wonder how many others want to leave their current assignment, but can’t.  What’s the cause of this exodus?  Usually, it’s incompatible work to job skills, bad supervisors, an unfriendly environment or a politically charged workplace.  While the organizational leadership usually acts as a model, there are additional factors that you need to explore:  Mismatched expectations.

 

When expectations are mutually understood and consistent between two or more parties, the outcome is usually excellent.  It’s when expectations are misunderstood, changed, not consistent or murky, that conflict usually follows.  Here are some examples:

  • A marketing ad states, “A weight loss of 15 pounds in 7 days”, but results show there is no weight loss at all. The credibility of the company is lost, along with the customer.  The expectation did not match reality.
  • A boss and subordinate agreed to an increased revenue goal of 8%. However, each had a different time frame:  The boss wanted results in 6 months, the subordinate didn’t ask, but assumed results were needed in 12 months.  The outcome:
  • In November, a couple agree that they want to get married “soon”. She expects an engagement ring at Christmas.  He is thinking the Summer is soon enough.  Guess what?  They soon learn how to deal with a disagreement if they get married, or not.

 

Everyone wants a degree of certainty in their daily life.  To achieve certainty, effective communications must eliminate ambiguity, doubt and uncertainty.  In a boss/subordinate situation, the boss needs to be clear and consistent.  When a boss isn’t, the subordinate experiences increased stress and job dissatisfaction.  When the subordinate doesn’t ask questions to seek clarity, doesn’t provide feedback, or when the plan changes without discussion, the outcome is always conflict.

 

The solution:  You must manage expectations, whether you’re the boss, subordinate, consumer or spouse.  How do you do that?  Here are a few thoughts:

  • Figure out what your longer-term goal is with the interaction. Sometimes the situation will dictate your approach. For instance, time may be a critical factor depending upon compressed or extended time needed to achieve the goal.
  • The skill, experience, knowledge or abilities of those needed to carry out the task. You and your boss may agree on expectations, but if you have a weak team or lack dependable information or support from others, you won’t be able to meet your goal.
  • Assume that all elements will not work as planned. Impediments to success will always be a factor. Build in as many contingencies as possible. Be flexible, creative and adaptable with solutions when an issue gets in the way.
  • Build in check-points or benchmarks to make sure you’re on track. Modify the plan when needed, but engage the key players in the changes.

 

Expectations, when effectively managed can enhance your results.  When expectations are not mutually aligned, disaster may follow.

 

For a FREE confidential critique of your resume, send to:   wkaufmann44@gmail.com