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As fresh blooms and a warming climate sweep across the United States, you’re probably dreaming of relaxed days outdoors. On the other side of the world in Nepal, however, spring inspires dreamers of a different kind. That’s because spring is prime time for ambitious climbers to tackle Mount Everest.
Even if you have no desire to conquer Everest yourself, it’s fascinating to learn about other people’s journey to reach the peak. The skill, preparation and patience required to attempt the climb is astonishing. Climbers risk their lives to tackle this mountain; in fact, four people have already died on Everest this season. I’ve been following two well-known mountaineers on Snapchat (everestnofilter) during their preparations for their summit push without oxygen. One just completed the journey and the other turned back due to the cold. Their perseverance is amazing.
The ups and downs of the climb have many parallels to job hunting. No matter the circumstances that lead you to a job search, when you approach it with perseverance, care and dedication, you are going to have more success — just like the climbers looking to cross Everest off their bucket list.
Train and prepare
To attempt Everest, you need to be well trained. Proper preparation is essential to reach your goals, whether they be reaching a mountain’s peak or landing a new job. While it’s tempting to dive right into a climb or job search, doing so can be a recipe for disaster. For job seekers, it’s important to take the time to update your resume, reflect on what type of job you want, determine your non-negotiables and set up job-alert emails. LinkUp’s 5-step job search is a great guide for getting started.
Beware the weather
The conditions have to be just right in order for climbers to attempt Everest. When job searching, it’s important to assess whether the “weather” is right for pursuing a new job. What are your current life circumstances? Is now a good time to get a new job? Are there advancement opportunities at your current place of employment? Are you seeking new employment for the right reasons or are you just temporarily dissatisfied? Consider the current outlook to ensure sunny skies are in the forecast.
Everest climbers will go up and down to various elevations on the mountain multiple times before even attempting the summit. Job searching is a similar roller coaster. Sometimes you’ll apply and not hear back. Other times, you’ll have a great networking conversation but no opportunities will be available. Perhaps you’ll interview but you won’t be the right candidate. Whatever the case, you must be patient and persevere. When it’s the right job for you, you’ll climb through base camp (application), camp one (phone interview), camp two (in-person interview), camp three (reference check), camp four (background check), and then finally the summit (the offer).
Find your Sherpa
No matter how good a climber is, he or she is going to work with a Sherpa to ensure a safe and successful climb. For job seekers, leveraging the right resources is just as important during the search. Call on your network for help and reach out to old colleagues, friends and family. People can be great resources in a job search and most enjoy helping others reach their goals; you simply need to ask.
Celebrate the summit
After what feels like endless planning and a marathon journey, the best mountaineers get to enjoy the breathtaking view at Everest’s summit. When you finally reach the summit of your job search by getting and accepting an offer, take time to celebrate. Enjoy the view and get ready for the next big chapter in your life.
Sandberg, however, has recently admitted that parts of her best-selling book are incorrect. In a Mother’s Day Facebook post, she addressed one of the most common criticisms of Lean In — that the concept is extremely difficult for single moms.
After losing her husband tragically and unexpectedly a year ago, Sandberg experienced firsthand the challenges of being a professional and single parent. And she didn’t just lose her spouse and the father of her children, she also lost her core support system. Sandberg realized many other women face this challenge every day — most without her financial security — and she became concerned.
“I did not really get how hard it is to succeed at work when you are overwhelmed at home,” Sandberg wrote.
After being thrust into single motherhood, it became clear it’s impossible to lean in constantly. There are times when you have to lean out for yourself and for your family. When your most precious resource is time, the toughest skill you will ever master is how to properly spend it in order to achieve the things that matter most to you. After all, there are only 24 hours in the day.
Depending on the support and resources you have available, there will be times throughout your career when you’ll be able to lean in more. There is no shame, however, in recognizing that it’s time to lean out. Here are some ideas for navigating your lean so your ship is always sailing smoothly:
1. Engage your family relationships.
Sit down with your kids or significant other, ask them about their day, week or month. What are they excited about and what’s bugging them? Can you help or do they just need someone to talk to?
2. Check your career.
What have you been enjoying? What is dragging you down? Where do you want to be in six months, a year and 5 years? Think about what you can do to get there.
3. Set a bed time and stick to it.
Quality sleep is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, plus it will help you be a better professional and parent.
4. Don’t bring your phone to bed.
Gasp! Remember, old-school alarm clocks? You can get one for about $10. Yes, you can keep your phone in the bedroom in case of an emergency, but don’t have it within arm’s reach where it will tempt you to check email and peruse the internet all night long.
5. Learn to say no.
Stop feeling obliged to always say yes. Don’t volunteer for things you’re merely mildly interested in. Forget the PTA. Forgo the fifth kids’ birthday party this month. Inject free time into your schedule.
6. Make time for friends.
Personal relationships require nurturing. Make time to hang out with friends, even if it’s once a month. Your heart will be happy.
7. Ask for help.
It takes a village. Remember, people love to feel useful and often will happily lend a hand, if you ask.
If you have the means, hire a cleaner or a lawn service to free up your free time for more productive or enjoyable activities. If you don’t, consider ways to open funds, such as cutting cable or brown-bagging lunch.
What other things do you do to navigate your lean? Please share!
Having a baby is a wonderful, magical experience. Those tiny toes, their milky breath and that angelic look while they sleep — this is what we moms remember long after our babies have grown. And while all the mushy stuff causes our hearts to burst with love, the reality of a newborn can be pretty difficult.
What we often try to erase from our memories is the sleep deprivation (what time is it?), the complete lack of routine (what’s a shower?) and the incredible amount of bodily fluid (pee, spit-up, unidentifiable other?). For moms of sick or colicky babies, it can be even more trying. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first child or fifth — if you hit the three-month mark with your newborn, you deserve a mommy badge of honor.
You love them with every fiber of your being, but there’s no denying there are some tough times early on. Which is why I’m not surprised by the uproar over the new novel “Meternity.” The premise focuses on a fictional career woman who, after years of covering for her co-workers when they have kids, decides to fake a pregnancy so she too can enjoy the glories of a maternity leave.
The storyline was inspired by the author’s own longing for time off after watching co-workers have children and enjoy their coveted maternity leave. She even wrote a New York Post essay on it. While I agree that everyone deserves some time off, anyone who thinks maternity leave is a relaxing vacation from the rigors of the office is quite mistaken. To be honest, sometimes going to work is easier than staying home with a brand-new baby.
I can excuse her lack of understanding for how taxing motherhood can be (which you really don’t know until you become one). I can’t, however, excuse her lack of knowledge about just how poor parental leave really is in our country. Maternity leave in the U.S. is weak; paid leave is virtually non-existent unless you work for a very generous company. Therefore, mothers often choose between unpaid leave or rushing back to work to make ends meet.
The U.S. is the only industrialized nation without paid maternity leave, joining the ranks of other countries that provide no type of financial support for mothers, such as Swaziland, Liberia and Lesotho. Meanwhile, in Germany you get 14 weeks at 65 percent of your wages, in Japan you get 14 weeks at 67 percent, and in New Zealand you get 14 weeks at 100 percent — plus another 38 weeks unpaid.
Bottom line to the author: We don’t need someone marginalizing what mothers do get, suggesting it is a relaxing, posh vacation. What we do need is to celebrate all hardworking mothers. For those of us in the workforce, let’s push for some real change so our daughters (and sons!) don’t have to stress the same way we have had to when they decide to become parents.
The best Mother’s Day gift we can give is to pass some long-overdue federal laws about paid parental leave. Check out www.paidleave.org to learn more. For employers, support mothers and other caregivers by implementing your own leave policies and following these 4 tips for a parent-friendly culture. It’s not merely good business; the wellness of mothers, babies and families depends on it.
When I first heard last week that Prince had died, I thought it was a joke. I assumed it was another one of those celebrity rumors. Unfortunately, the truth was quickly confirmed — another legend was gone too young.
Prince was beloved worldwide, but among Minnesotans he was a hometown hero. Born and raised in Minneapolis, he always had a soft spot for the Twin Cities. No matter how much his popularity grew, he called Minnesota home. We will always love him for that loyalty.
A night out in Minneapolis was always made a bit more magical with the prospect of a Prince sighting. He was known to jump on stage for impromptu concerts at small venues throughout the cities. He also supported Minnesota sports and communities more than any other celebrity. Although he had a private jet, the rumored last photo of Prince shows him riding his bike to Paisley Park, his home studio in Chanhassen.
No one will disagree that Prince was a complex man with many layers. Even if you weren’t a fan of his music, there are many reasons to be a fan of the man. The lessons he left behind can help guide everyone toward being a better person.
1. Be authentic
Be true to yourself. It’s something we’ve been told over and over again, and Prince was the perfect example. From the start, he embraced his unique rhythm and didn’t care what others thought. He did it so well, it made him the epitome of cool.
2. Respect others
If you’re going to be true to yourself, you have to let others do the same. Prince blurred many lines and influenced the communities near his home. He treated women as equal, often collaborating with and promoting female artists. His iconic symbol is even a unique blend of the male and female symbols.
3. Be generous
Prince was a generous philanthropist and most of us didn’t know it until he died. He gave millions to many different charities and in return he simply asked organizations not to say anything about it. He teaches us that giving is an important part of life and something that we should do without expecting anything in return.
4. Own your craft
Prince had a stage presence that couldn’t be ignored, but he also had the talent to back it up. A master lyricist. A brilliant guitarist. A visionary artist. He was always practicing and improving. What’s more, he seemed to only get better with age. No matter your talent or profession, perfecting your craft should never have an end date.
5. Embrace your roots
The world was Prince’s oyster. He could have lived and built his studio anywhere. He chose Minnesota. In numerous interviews people asked him about this, perplexed why someone like him would stay. My favorite Prince response: “I like the cold weather, it keeps the bad people away.” Of course it was more than just that — his roots were here and he never forgot it. And we are all better off thanks to that decision.
North Carolina has made headlines recently after it announced a law that blocks local governments from passing anti-discrimination rules to protect gay and transgender people. This hot-button issue has everyone talking and backlash has been extensive.
Disney has vowed to cease any filming in the state. Musicians have cancelled shows in protest, including Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr. Businesses have stopped expansion plans in the state, like PayPal canceling plans to open a global operations center in Charlotte. Politicians are speaking out, including Minnesota’s own Governor Mark Dayton, who has banned non-essential business travel by state employees to North Carolina.
After great criticism, North Carolina’s governor modified the law, although much of it is still intact. According to United Press International, “McCrory used his executive order to try to peel back some of the effects of the law just 20 days after signing it. His order would prevent state workers from being fired for being gay or transgender. He also said he wants legislation that would give workers the right to sue for discrimination.”
This is a charged issue, and it certainly has interesting implications for employers and HR. Personal feelings aside, how can businesses support employees on both sides of the issue, prevent discrimination and stay politically neutral?
Beth Zoller, a legal editor with XpertHR, brings up a good point, saying that while this state law blocks local governments from passing anti-discrimination rules, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission makes it clear discrimination will not be tolerated.
“Even though North Carolina employers may be free to do as they wish under state law, it is wise for such employers to establish strict policies prohibiting discrimination, harassment and retaliation against LGBT individuals and make sure that such individuals do not suffer unequal treatment in the workplace,” says Zoller. “Otherwise, an employer may face an anti-discrimination claim under federal law.”
In regard to the controversial rule that employees must use the bathroom assigned to the gender noted on their birth certificated, Zoller says, “Employers should permit all employees, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, to use the restroom corresponding with their full-time gender identity and presentation, and provide all employees with access to restrooms that are safe, sanitary, convenient and dignified or face fines under OSHA.”
An employer is bound to have employees on both sides of this issue and the goal is to ensure that no one feels uncomfortable. One idea that Zoller offers is to allow workers uncomfortable with transitioning or transgender employees to use separate restroom facilities, such as a unisex single-occupant restroom. “The burden should be on the non-transgender individual to use a separate facility, otherwise the employer may risk a discrimination claim,” Zoller says.
While the laws are specific to North Carolina, these types of issues are affecting employers worldwide. What can other U.S. businesses learn from this?
“Whenever there is a divisive issue in the news that affects the workplace, your first priority is to make sure it doesn’t tear your team apart,” says Greg Harris, the president and CEO of Quantum Workplace. “To do that you need an environment that supports inclusion and provides everybody with an appropriate and safe way to report any discrimination they may encounter.”
My opinion is that it’s best to err on the side of caution and meet a higher standard. Always maintain open conversation with employees and ensure everyone feels safe. Understanding and inclusion today will positively affect your business for years down the road.
While no one will argue against the importance of diversity in the workplace, it too often receives lip service from executives who do little to make it a permanent thread in the company’s fabric. Diversity is considered nice but not essential when there are bigger fish to fry, such as benchmark analysis and sales growth.
What if I told you diversity is more than just a nicety? For numbers-minded folks, research shows a diverse workforce influences profits dramatically. McKinsey research shows that companies in the top quarter for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have higher financial returns. Some noteworthy stats:
- Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
- Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
- In the United States, there is a linear relationship between racial and ethnic diversity and better financial performance. For every 10 percent increase in racial and ethnic diversity on the senior-executive team, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rise 0.8 percent.
This really shouldn’t shock anyone. A diverse workforce brings together people from many different backgrounds, allowing them to collaborate and generate ideas more effectively. For international companies, diversity provides an indisputable business edge when working with different cultures across the globe. Even for businesses that only function within the U.S., diversity fuels innovation while reflecting the melting pot that is our nation.
Diversity is also incredibly important from a recruiting standpoint. Hiring a diverse workforce not only means access to bigger talent pools, but also the opportunity to define what the company stands for — which helps attract top talent. For example, millennials — who soon will make up the majority of the workforce — consider diversity an important value, but it must be authentic.
To go beyond the lip-service phase to authentically instill diversity into the workplace, you must be intentional. Keep in mind, diversity isn’t just race and gender — it’s also seeking employees with different backgrounds, ideas and ways of thinking. Here are a few things organizations can do to encourage diversity:
1. Companies must take a long-term strategic approach to embrace diversity. The best way to achieve this is to put someone in charge of these efforts and hold them accountable. Evaluate progresses at least once a year.
2. Beware of forcing diversity because it will backfire. Diversity isn’t a quota to be met — it’s something that must fit into every aspect of day-to-day operations.
3. Leaders must embrace diversity for it to become a permanent part of the company’s makeup. If it starts at the top, it will trickle down. Consider executive training programs if necessary.
4. For recruiting, utilize diverse sources to attract diverse talent. If one source is providing you with cookie-cutter candidates, experiment elsewhere to find untapped markets.
5. Demonstrate your commitment to diversity by joining organizations such as www.nshmba.org and www.nbmbaa.org. By actively participating in groups like these, you’ll gain knowledge while building your company’s reputation.
It can feel cumbersome and repetitive, driving even the most patient job hunter up the wall. The applicant tracking system (ATS) is a commonplace tool used by employers to feature accept applications and manage the recruiting process.
Last week we wrote about how employers can optimize ATS processes. Today we focus on the applicants themselves. The use of ATS is only going to grow, so it’s in your best interest to align your job hunt appropriately.
A visit to any job-seeker discussion board will offer loads of theories on how to beat the ATS robots. You’ll probably find your fair share of rants and expletives, too. If you’re getting to an ATS boiling point, it’s important to keep your cool and power forward. Remember, you can’t get the job you don’t apply for.
While there are numerous strategies to give yourself an edge against an ATS, here are five of the simplest tried-and-true methods to help you beat the bot and get your resume in front of human eyes.
1. Mimic the job description
How do you know what keywords the ATS is flagging? You don’t. But you can bet that the terms used in the job description will probably be included in the must-have list. Use them verbatim in your resume to ensure yours gets pulled. For more ideas, visit the company’s website and social media pages.
2. Use standard headings
ATS parses your information into buckets by searching your resume’s headers. That means it’s looking for standard phrasing and organization of your information. Resist the temptation to rename your education or work experience section to something more flowery, otherwise it might get skipped over completely.
3. Limit formatting
Fancy formatting can cause ATS havoc. While pretty on the eyes, complex fonts, graphics or photos don’t translate well to these software systems. It’s best to keep it simple, and if you want to convey your creative side, do so by including a link to your portfolio site for a recruiter to see at a later date.
4. Write out acronyms
Acronyms are all around us. Some companies have acronyms for names, and academic acronyms are everywhere, too. Technology acronyms can often feel like a different language. It’s hard to know what the ATS is looking for, so to decrease the chance of error, write out any phrase and then put the acronym in parenthesis.
5. Don’t sweat the length
While you shouldn’t produce a short novel, the length of your resume is not much of a concern to an ATS. In fact, a slightly longer resume offers more space to express your accomplishments and include those golden keywords. So if you’re tipping the two-page mark, don’t fret. You’re OK.
What other advice have you uncovered for beating the ATS? What have been your positive or negative experiences with this widely used approach for filtering applicants?
It may have always been the case, but increasingly these days it seems as if we are in an era of enormous questions with monumental import. Along a spectrum moving from alarming to horrifying to cataclysmic, those questions would include the following: Can Donald Trump really capture the GOP nomination, and if so, what will arise from the bloody GOP carnage following the most gratifying electoral rout in American history? Can ISIS be obliterated and, related, what is the likelihood of more regular terrorism events in the west and around the world? Has climate change progressed beyond the point of no return, resulting in the ultimate demise of the planet?
How’s that for a happy spring?
It’s no wonder that in the face of such terrifying chaos, we’ve seen shocking increases in opiate addiction and, just as anesthetizing, the rise of binge-devouring epically-awesome serial television. And speaking of the latter, I’d add a few additional questions such as….will John Snow return in Season 6 (yes, of course), is R+L=J correct (seems likely), and will there ever again be a character anywhere in all of fiction as gloriously perfect as Tyrion Lannister (never)?
A little more mundane, perhaps, but no less uncertain are the endless questions swirling around the U.S. economy as Q1 comes to a close. How strong are the fundamentals underlying the economy? How long will oil prices stay so low and what impact will protracted low prices have on the economy? How long can we expect to remain sufficiently immune to persistent global weakness? How sustainable is solid consumer confidence and how far can a resilient consumer carry the U.S. economy? Is the inflation bogey-man anywhere to be found? Lastly, and most crucially, are the mysteries and vagaries surrounding the U.S. labor market.
As has been the case for nearly a decade now, all these questions coalesce into a single question – how far will the Fed raise interest rates this year? In explaining the recent decision to slow the projected path of rate increases laid out in December, Fed Chair Janet Yellen stated Tuesday that, “Given the risks to the outlook, I consider it appropriate for the committee to proceed cautiously in adjusting policy.” She further added that, “The major thing that’s changed between December and March that affects the baseline outlook is a slightly weaker projected pace of global growth. Global developments pose ongoing risks.”
But as the WSJ pointed out this morning, Yellen’s speech before the Economic Club of New York contrasts with other Fed officials who have a more positive outlook. Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart stated last week that, “there is sufficient momentum evidenced by the economic data to justify a further step at one of the coming meetings, possibly as early as the meeting scheduled for the end of April.” San Francisco Fed President John Williams stated that, “I don’t see a looming global crisis. If we see inflation continuing to consistently pick up, that would argue for a slightly steeper path for [monetary] policy.” And yet Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan urged Fed policy makers to “be patient and cautious.” WTF?!?!
Similar to trying to get a handle on GOP insanity or trying to predict Game of Thrones plot lines, it all boils down to the basic reality that no one, including the Fed, has any idea how fast interest rates will climb this year. And while my crystal ball is no less cloudy than anyone else’s, I can provide some insights into the U.S. labor market, what we see for Friday’s jobs numbers for March, and what our outlook is for job growth in the 2nd quarter.
Based on the declines in new and total job openings seen in our job search engine in January, we are forecasting a net gain of just 100,000 jobs for Friday’s non-farm payroll (NFP) report for March.
That is well below consensus estimates of a net gain of 202,000 jobs among economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
If we are correct, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t adjust numbers for January or February (a highly unlikely scenario), then job gains for Q1 would come in at just over 500,000, similar to what we’ve seen in the 1st quarter for the past few years.
But based on very strong gains in new job openings and a modest increase in total job openings in February, combined with solid job opening numbers for March, we are predicting strong job growth in Q2.
For new readers of this blog, LinkUp is a highly unique job search engine in that we only index jobs from company websites. Updated daily, our search engine indexes approximately 3 million job openings from 50,000 company websites around the country and around the world. There are no duplicate listings because we only pull in job openings from a single source – the employer’s website itself. And most importantly, we do not aggregate job listings from job boards or other ‘pay-to-post’ sources, so we completely eliminate job board pollution (scams, fraud, lead-gen, identity theft, phishing, money-mule, resume pooling, etc.).
As a result of our vastly differentiated approach to the online jobs space, we deliver a phenomenal user experience to job seekers and an industry-leading value proposition to our employer advertisers. Our unique approach also results in the largest, highest quality labor market dataset in the industry which we’ve been able to effectively leverage to make accurate job forecast for the past 5+ years.
So while I couldn’t even begin to imagine what the outcome of the gong show in Cleveland in July will be, nor whether or not Daenerys Targaryen will reclaim the throne in Westeros, we remain confident that Friday’s numbers will come in below consensus, the Fed will hold interest rates steady in April, and job growth in Q2 will be quite strong.
Because Friday is the 1st of the month, we do not yet have final job openings data for March. We will publish our March job openings data early next week along with an updated forecast for Q2 job growth and perhaps some additional commentary on Friday’s numbers.