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April 15, 2015 / Molly Moseley

Where Ellen Pao Got it Wrong on Closing the Wage Gap for Women

shutterstock_141679684Ellen Pao’s decision to eliminate salary discussions when hiring at reddit has everyone talking. Her goal appears to be a noble one: to close the wage gap and salary discrimination. Yet she may be going about it all wrong.

“Men negotiate harder than women do and sometimes women get penalized when they do negotiate,” Pao said to the Wall Street Journal. “So as part of our recruiting process we don’t negotiate with candidates.”

Hey Ellen, that isn’t going to help! Prohibiting women from using negotiation skills and learning more about how to negotiate is at best a band-aid solution to a much bigger problem. Women continue to get paid approximately 80 cents to every dollar a man earns. Cultural stereotypes often follow women throughout their careers, no matter what industry they work in. The glass ceiling is real for far too many female professionals.

Instead of eliminating negotiating, I think we need to focus on teaching women to negotiate more effectively. It is, after all, a skill that virtually every professional needs in order to be successful, whether you need to convince your boss to start a new project or negotiate effectively with vendors and customers.

So are women really bad negotiators? It’s not so much that we’re bad, it’s that we often don’t do it at all. Sheryl Sandberg herself has even stated that women fail to negotiate because they don’t want to deal with a negative reaction. At face value, that makes sense: starting a new job is a big deal and no one wants to appear confrontational or uncooperative, right?

No. Not right. Too often our instinct is to please and it’s causing us to miss out on opportunities to really stand out. I’ve been on both sides of the negotiating table, as a job candidate and as an employer. I also have a 4-year-old daughter who one day will need to negotiate, so I believe in being a good role model to her by standing up for what I think is fair.

If you’re starting a new job, don’t back down when the opportunity to negotiate comes up. Instead, stay optimistic and remember these tips to help you get the salary you deserve:

1. Know what you’re worth
Don’t let the hiring manager dictate what you’re worth; know your value ahead of time. Research salaries for positions at companies close to where you are applying. Experience, geographical location and responsibilities are all influential factors.

2. Be positive and confident
Once you are able to support what you think you’re worth with research and evidence, present your thoughts in a confident and positive manner. Going into it with anxiety and uncertainty can backfire, so stay strong.

3. Listen and collaborate
Negotiating is a two-way street, and in the end it is best if both parties get what they want. Remember to listen to your future employer and use examples to show why hiring you (at your desired salary) is a win-win for all involved. Collaboration instead of competition will likely result in a better outcome.

4. Know your audience
Don’t negotiate on the first phone call. Go through the interview process and wait for the official job offer before starting negotiations. Remember, many companies expect to negotiate and will therefore not lead with thir best offer; it’s up to you not to leave money on the table.

5. Practice
If you’ve never before negotiated for salary or if it’s been a while since you last did, consider role playing to help prepare for discussions. Ask a friend or family member to go over your “pitch,” and he or she can ask questions so you can practice responding appropriately.

April 9, 2015 / Stephanie Anderson

Top 10 people to follow on LinkedIn to give your career an edge

shutterstock_169585925If you are looking for a new job or simply want to amp up your career, there’s no denying the power of LinkedIn. After all, LinkedIn is the go-to tool for connecting professionals with other people in their networks. But to get the maximum benefits from the platform, you can’t stop there; you must follow industry influencers to give your career the edge it needs.

Initially LinkedIn opened it’s publishing platform to select official “Influencers” to share their original content, but last year it gave every member the ability to publish posts. The response was overwhelmingly positive as professionals seized the opportunity to communicate with an entirely professional audience. This past January, the platform hit the 1-million post mark, which means a lot of members have embraced the chance to share their insights with others across the globe.

Following someone on LinkedIn is like subscribing to their blog, but I’d argue that it’s better. Why? In addition to reading insights and expertise, you can also see other articles each influencer shares, as well as the engagements he or she has with other members. You can even participate in the conversation yourself to show your own familiarity with the subject matter.

We at LinkUp recommend following these top 10 LinkedIn influencers to give your job search and career a boost.

1. Alison Doyle
Doyle is a job search expert for About.com and founder of careertoolbelt.com. She routinely engages with her followers, provides tons of great job search advice and is always in the know regarding career trends.

2. Laszlo Bock
As the SVP of people operations at Google, Bock is a master of what works (and doesn’t!) on resumes. His posts reveal insider secrets about getting noticed in your job search and how to make your career more satisfying.

3. Suzanne Lucas
A celebrity of sorts in the HR world blogging as the Evil HR Lady, Lucas regularly posts about career advice in a funny. Her sometimes sarcastic tone easily makes even the blandest topics enjoyable.

4. Hannah Morgan
Morgan is your go-to gal for great job-search advice. From how to land that dream interview to networking nuggets that will inspire an aha-moment, her insight is priceless.

5. Susan Joyce
Joyce’s extensive experience shines through in each of her posts, which tackle tough subjects like overcoming age issues when finding a new position and job-search sabotage.

6. Liz Ryan
As an experienced writer with a tenure as a Fortune 500 human resources SVP, Ryan’s posts offer expertise on perplexing topics like answering “stupid” job questions or dealing with “evil” HR policies.

7. Liz D’Aloia:
D’Aloia writes on interesting, timely HR subjects that matter to both job searchers and recruiters. Even when addressing serious topics, she has fun with her posts, often injecting celebrities into the copy.

8. Brian de Haaff
Want to be inspired and get ahead in your career? The CEO of Aha!, de Haaff offers insight in his posts about how to maximize success and uncover the secrets to being truly happy at work.

9. Paul Petrone
Petrone is a very active LinkedIn publisher whose articles typically focus on large companies and recruiting insights. He’s great at spotting trends and isn’t afraid to tell it like it is.

10. YOU: You can revolutionize your career or job search by publishing articles yourself. You are an expert in your field and can assert yourself as such with the LinkedIn publishing platform. It’s a great way to make new connections, engage with other professionals and demonstrate your expertise.

Bonus: We won’t call ourselves top 10 (because we’re from Minnesota and we’re modest), but our own crew has a lot of useful insight to share. Look us up: LinkUpMolly Moseley and Stephanie Anderson.

Who are your favorite LinkedIn users to follow? Share in the comments!

April 3, 2015 / Molly Moseley

Are raises nonexistent in a growing economy?

raiseThe year started out with a bang thanks to impressive first-quarter job growth. While March’s gains of 126,000 jobs were lower than expected, more than half a million jobs were added in January and February alone, and new job postings on LinkUp were up 24 percent. But as the New York Times points out, even with normalized unemployment and increased job growth, employed workers are not getting the raises they would typically enjoy considering these economical indicators.

It turns out if you’re facing a paltry raise this year, you’re not alone. But that doesn’t mean you have to sit back, be quiet and take it. You are your best advocate for increasing your compensation, so it might be time to think outside the box about how you can get the most out of your job. Here are 10 ideas to consider.

1. More vacation days
If a raise is out of the question, consider asking for additional paid time off. This can be a great option, particularly if you have a longer tenure at the company.

2. 401k match
If your employer doesn’t offer a 401(K) employee match, ask for one. If they already have one, see if you can increase it by 1 or 2 percent.

3. Flexible work time
Sick of working 8-5? See if you can get a flexible work schedule that allows you to work alternative hours that better fit your lifestyle.

4. Flexible work arrangement
Try to negotiate a work-from-home schedule. Less time in traffic can mean a better work-life balance and savings on fuel costs.

5. Performance-based bonuses
Rather than an annual raise, propose the idea of performance-based bonuses to your manager. Pitch a fairly aggressive program and then go get it!

6. Ask to have costs offset
See if you can get costs of employment reimbursed by your employer. This could include the cost of parking or the cost of Internet at home for telecommuters.

7. Travel and receive per diem costs
Depending on how travel policies are structured, you may be able to earn extra cash by not spending all the per diem you’re allowed.

8. Overtime
If you’re eligible, mention your desire to work overtime to your supervisor. If it’s available, it can be a great way to boost your paycheck, particularly if you are paid a higher amount for an overtime wage.

9. Apply for a promotion
Sitting idle may be comfortable, but it likely won’t get you a big pay raise. To boost your salary, work hard and apply for available promotions.

10. Get a side gig
When all else fails, if you want more money consider alternative ways to use your skills. Can you freelance or consult on the side? If there a hobby you can turn into a business? If so, get to work!

April 1, 2015 / Toby Dayton

LinkUp Forecasting Solid Job Gains In March But Down Slightly From February

As a result of having broken my left wrist while snowboarding in Colorado last week (Sun Down Bowl, Forever), I will be honoring the December 20, 1980 Jets-Dolphins game with this month’s non-farm payroll (NFP) forecast. During that historic broadcast nearly 35 years ago, NBC’s Don Ohlmeyer decided to eliminate the play-by-play crew in an effort to increase the ratings for what he called a “dog of a game.” So in tribute to that game (but mostly because one-handed typing is ridiculous), I am eliminating the play-by-play for this month’s NFP blog post.

 

Jobs by State March 2015

 

Jobs by Category March 2015

 

Job Duration March 2015

 

March 2015 NFP Forecast

I do have to make one comment given that our forecast might appear a bit anomalous given our projected decrease in net job gains from the prior month despite a 10.2% increase in the blended average between new and total job openings on LinkUp in February. The forecast of a net gain of 275,000 jobs in March, which is 20,000 jobs less than the 295,000 jobs gained in February, is due to the fact that the blended average of new and total jobs in LinkUp’s job search engine (which indexes 3 million jobs from 50,000 corporate websites) fell by 0.8% in February (see last month’s new and total ‘Jobs by State’ chart).

The 10.2% in the table above results from our paired-month methodology in which we use two sets of data points for February – the first when comparing February to January and the second when comparing February to March. In looking back at historical data, it appears that in months like February where job listings actually fell from January but the blended average using the paired-month methodology shows a positive gain, the negative number becomes the overriding factor. This was the case in April and May of 2013 and again in June and July of 2014. This refinement to our forecasting model would have rectified 3 of those 4 forecasts and we’ll see if that holds true again with Friday’s numbers.

And in the event that our methodology remains somewhat or perhaps entirely opaque, rest assured that there is a method to the madness – a method, in fact, that resulted in LinkUp being the 3rd most accurate forecaster among participants in Bloomberg’s monthly NFP survey for 2013 and 2014.

Bloomberg NFP Rankings 2013 & 2014

 

I hope our streak continues and that this latest tweak to our model doesn’t turn this month’s prediction into a dog of a forecast.

 

 

jobdigSnowboardDog

April 1, 2015 / Stephanie Anderson

Should you disclose a disability in a job interview?

shutterstock_225202837Nearly one in five Americans has a disability, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. If you’re one of them, you might question if and when you should disclose your disability to potential employers. The answer, because every situation is different, is there is no right answer.

You’re probably familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a qualified applicant with a disability. Unfortunately, false assumptions are still made during the interview process, and they could jeopardize your chances of getting hired. So what’s your best course of action? Below we provide some important considerations, when deciding whether or not you should proactively discuss a disability with a potential employer.

Is your disability apparent?

Your approach will likely depend on the type of disability you have. For example, a physical disability that requires use of a wheelchair is obvious when you meet an employe, thus your wheelchair is disclosing for you. On the other hand, a cognitive disability, such as autism or PTSD, is often not apparent unless disclosed. Many disabilities, like sleep disorders and fibromyalgia, are hidden and therefore it’s your choice when and how you bring up the situation, if at all.

When you may choose not to disclose

Some of the top reasons people choose not to bring up a disability include being viewed as less capable than others or being treated differently due to misconceptions. If the disability isn’t apparent and doesn’t affect your job performance, it would make sense not to mention it at all. Or if you are qualified to perform the essential functions of the position with reasonable accommodations, you may choose not to disclose in the interview, but after a job offer. Just don’t forget that in order to receive ADA protection against discrimination, an employer must be informed.

While it is illegal to discriminate against a qualified applicant because of their disability, it does happen. Additionally, some employers place a higher priority on support for disabilities than others. If you are choosing not to disclose because you are afraid a particular employer will discriminate, do you really want to work for that employer anyway?

Choosing when disclose

Although you may not be able to control your disability, you can control how and when you communicate it to an employer, if you choose to do so at all. Many people opt not to disclose a disability on an application or cover letter unless the employer is actively looking to hire people with disabilities, in which case being forthright is a clear advantage. They feel they can then be placed on an even playing field against other candidates where skill and merit are the focus.

If you would prefer to discuss your disability prior to an interview, you could mention it in the cover letter or subtly in your resume. Two easy ways are adding a bullet point about your volunteer experience at a nonprofit focused on your disability or participation/award in a disability-related activity. This provides a clear opportunity to discuss it during the interview process.

Disclosing in an interview

Bringing up a disability during an interview can be advantageous because you can address the situation head-on and give examples of why your disability is not an obstacle to your ability to do the job well. Don’t be afraid to lead the conversation. If you need a great segue, bring it up when asked “What are your strengths?” Communicate how your disability has enabled you to think outside the box and look at problems through a creative lens. Or, perhaps your disability has given you a fantastic work ethic or allowed you to be a particularly strong team player; support these statements with examples. This technique lets you easily turn a perceived negative into a shining positive.

Remember, ADA says an employer cannot ask you questions directly related to your disability, but they can ask about your ability to perform the job. For example, an interviewer can ask about your ability to lift a certain amount, stand for a specified time period or do skilled tasks such as math or typing. Stay calm and answer truthfully, offer reassurance that you can perform the tasks, and discuss any necessary and reasonable accommodations that you’ll need.

Disclosing once hired

Finally, some people won’t bring up a hidden disability until after they are hired or even later during the course of employment. Beyond protection from discrimination in the hiring process, ADA requires that employers offer disabled workers “reasonable accommodations” to perform a job, such as special software or an altered workspace design, but you need to be the one to request the accommodation and drive the conversation.

No matter when you choose to disclose information about your disability, you can do so on a need-to-know basis. That may mean only your supervisor and human resources team needs to know and not your immediate co-workers.

Always remember you are entitled to being treated respectfully and confidentially, and that reasonable work-related accommodations can be requested. Visit eeoc.gov for more information about the ADA and what it means to applicants.

March 25, 2015 / Stephanie Anderson

The grass isn’t always greener: 7 reasons not to quit your job

shutterstock_127903568Just a few years ago, struggling to find or keep a job was common across the country. Most people were happy to be employed and few were considering quitting to follow a dream or to find greener pastures. Fast-forward to today and folks are singing a vastly different tune.

Now that the economy has improved and unemployment is down, people are seeking better opportunities. Daily headlines tout reasons why you should quit your job or discover your passion. Doing so is a good thing … if you are truly unsatisfied. Unfortunately, what often gets overlooked in the excitement of a possible new opportunity is all the positive things that having tenure at your current job provide you.

In fact, if you think about it, there’s probably a lot of really great reasons NOT to quit your job. Before you make the jump, consider this list of seven compelling reasons you should stay at the job you currently have.

1. You don’t have another job lined up
This is pretty self explanatory, but before you have a bad day and decide on a whim to throw in the towel and give your notice, step back and take a deep breath. It’s best to quit when you don’t have the pressure of needing a new job immediately.

2. There is room for upward growth
If your company provides opportunities to learn and you regularly see hardworking employees promoted to more senior-level positions, consider staying. This means there’s room for you to climb the corporate ladder, and there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to do that at a new job.

3. Your “total rewards” are impressive
A lot of people look for a new job in order to get a higher salary. Remember that compensation is just one piece of your benefits package. If your current company offers amazing benefits, it might be worthwhile to stay. Consider your total rewards, including health insurance, time off, work-life balance, etc. Just because your paycheck may be higher at another company, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting more.

4. You have solid advocates
Relationships take time to build. Starting a new job means everyone is getting to know you, and for some, you might even be competition. If you have great advocates at your current company who will vouch for your work and abilities, it’s a huge asset, particularly if you want a promotion, sizable raise or the chance to spearhead new projects.

5. You believe in your current company
Some people go to a job and feel like complete sell-outs. Others are driven to work hard because they believe in the company’s mission and/or the products produced. If you’re one of them, staying will mean feeling more engaged, fulfilled and connected to your career. This can influence your level of happiness at work and at home.

6. You genuinely like your co-workers and supervisor
A new job can look pretty on paper, but it can be hard to predict what your new co-workers will be like. If you have some amazing relationships with your immediate coworkers and you genuinely like your boss, consider staying. Even a great job can’t trump lazy co-workers or a crabby supervisor.

7. You’re going through a mid-life crisis
Sometimes there are things going on in life that cause us to make rash decisions. If you’re going through the proverbial mid-life crisis, don’t go wild and quit your job. Doing so may be a major mistake you’ll regret in just a few months. It’s best to pause while other things in your life settle before making major career decisions.

 

March 13, 2015 / Molly Moseley

Secrets to creating an award-winning career site

CareerSiteSecretsFromLinkUp (2)A company’s career website isn’t just for facilitating the application process – it’s one of the most important tools businesses can use to lure talent and educate them about the workplace culture and open opportunities. So how effective is your current career website?

From the most minimalist, bare-bones career pages that embrace a utilitarian approach to elaborate multi-tiered portals that offer would-be employees valuable insights, we’ve seen it all. It’s best to focus on quality versus quantity; more content isn’t always better if it is poorly organized, causes confusion or is disruptive to the application process.

For an example of a stellar career portal, check out UnitedHealth Group (careers.unitedhealthgroup.com), which was last year’s winner of our Top Ranked Fortune 500 Career Portals. Even if your company is much smaller or has fewer resources, you can still take cues from some notable features on the site, such as a search button on the career homepage, links to the company career blog and the option to meet with recruiters.

If you think your company’s career website could use a refresh, consider these simple things you can do to start the process of revitalizing the portal and empowering prospective employees:

1. Take the journey yourself
Put yourself in the shoes of a potential applicant and go through the entire education and application process yourself. By going through the steps and looking at it through a different lens, you can discover opportunities for improvement. If you think you might be too biased as a company employee, ask a friend who works externally to go through the process and provide critiques.

2. Add a careers link to the homepage
How do prospective employees find your career website? Is it easily visible from the main homepage or do they have to click multiple times in order to find it? Making it easy to navigate to this section of your site is key to engaging applicants and streamlining the educational process.

3. Convey the company culture
Every hiring manager knows that it’s not just an employee’s credentials that count; the right person will be a good fit for the company culture as well. Use the website to give valuable insight into what the culture is like and what type of person will be a successful employee. Great additions include employee profiles, event photos, day-in-the-life videos and links to social media.

4. Improve job descriptions
Even if you have all the career portal bells and whistles, if your job titles and descriptions are lacking, you’re failing yourself and losing opportunities to attract talent. Good job descriptions should be clear and concise. Skip block paragraphs and use bullets instead. The details should focus on the job itself rather than lengthy company information (which should be located on a separate section of the career site).

For more tips about effective ways to improve your career website to streamline the talent-acquisition process, check out our white paper here about Top Rated Career Websites.

Do you already work for a company with an awesome career site? We are now accepting nominations for the 2015 Top Career Site award! Nominate your company today!

March 5, 2015 / Toby Dayton

The 2015 NFP Roller Coaster Ride Starts Tomorrow

In perhaps the biggest understatement of the week, we are a bit of an outlier for tomorrow’s NFP jobs number. Of the 94 estimates, not only are we the highest, but we’re nearly 60% above the median estimate and 80,000 jobs above the next highest estimate.

NFP_2015.03.05

Our estimate is based on the steep increase we saw in new and total job openings on LInkUp in January, which we expect preceded an increase in hiring in February. In addition to all the data we typically look at (and wrote about earlier this week with our forecast and related analysis), another important data point we examine provides, at best, some mixed signals as the projected hiring in Q1.

LinkUp’s ‘Job Duration’ report shows the length in days of jobs that have rolled off the site during the prior 6 months. So in February, for example and as depicted in the inset graphic below, job listings that rolled off of LinkUp between September and February (presumably because they were filled) had been on our job search engine for an average of just under 48 days. As that same inset graphic shows, the pace of hiring or ‘velocity’ accelerated dramatically last year, dropping from 51 days in April to 41 days in October. Since October, the average job duration has risen to 48 days.

Jobs Duration Feb 2015 (2)

Of course, the lengthening duration can be interpreted in a number of ways. During the Great Recession, companies simply decreased the volume and pace of hiring. For the fewer jobs that were being filled, employers could also be very selective in their hiring process due to the fact that labor supply was much greater than labor demand. Those factors clearly led to a slowdown in hiring or a longer ‘Job Duration.’

In the current environment, our interpretation is that demand is now greater than supply, and companies are finding it increasingly difficult to fill their openings. While that is great news for job seekers, unemployment, wage growth, and the U.S. economy in general (at least up to a point), it definitely will have an impact on monthly net job growth. With demand finally outweighing supply, wages will start to climb (which we are just beginning to see in the past few months on a large-scale basis), voluntary quits will continue to increase, and general ‘churn’ in the labor market should increase quite a bit. In general, all of those things point to continued momentum around a strengthening labor market, but they will take place in fits and starts across different job categories, sectors of the economy, and regions of the country. While we expect that job growth will remain strong over the course of the year (see our February forecast and our call for a net gain of 4 million jobs in 2015), there will undoubtedly be volatility in the monthly numbers with lots of revisions of significant magnitude. It should be a pretty fun roller coaster ride, and we look forward to our first big thrill tomorrow morning.

March 3, 2015 / Toby Dayton

Strong Growth In January Job Openings Points To Above-Consensus February Jobs Estimate

Following a strong year of net job gains, a year in which just over 3 million new jobs were added to the U.S. economy (finally!), it looks like 2015 will be an even stronger year. But of course, any forecast relating to sustained job growth for the year, especially one made on March 3rd, rests on a huge number of assumptions even in the best of circumstances and in the most ‘normal’ of times (as if such a time does, in fact, exist). But these are no ordinary times, and the list of potential issues that could derail a strengthening labor market include, among countless others:

• Geopolitical risk throughout the world (Russia, Syria, ISIS, Israel/Iran, etc.)

• U.S. currency

• Low oil prices (which could go either way and maybe off-set)

• Totally dysfunctional and inept Congress that refuses (for about the 5th year in a row) to address any real issues impacting the U.S. economy

• Uncertainty about the timing of the Fed’s move on raising interest rates and what impact it might have on the economy

• China, Europe, Greece, South America….(and the list goes on and on….)

• Markets that appear to be reaching (have reached?) designation as over-valued and should (have to?) correct at some point

Needless to say, the list of potential risks to the U.S. jobs market is long and frightening. And nagging in everyone’s mind should be the number of times over the past 5 years that we started the year off with decent numbers in Q1, only to be disappointed (or more accurately – CRUSHED) as the jobs market petered out in subsequent quarters.

But having said all that, 2015 got off to a terrific start in January with a net gain of 257,000 jobs added to the U.S. economy. And based on the strong increase in job openings in LinkUp’s job search engine in January (new job posts up 24% and total job posts up 9%), we are forecasting an even better month in February with a net gain of 370,000 last month. (We won’t even attempt to account for the possible impact that crazy blizzards might have had in job gains last month, but if hiring was down in February because of the horrible weather, we should see that labor demand being met in March with higher-than-expected numbers this month).

Feb 2015 Forecast

Unfortunately in February, the growth in job openings cooled off a bit (perhaps also due, in part, to the fact that no one in the eastern half of the country was in the office much during the snowy month to post new openings on their company career portals). As the chart below shows, new job openings by state fell 3% while total job openings by state increased only 2%. Perhaps most concerning, 32 states reported a decline in new job openings.

Jobs By State Feb 2015

New and total job openings by category shows a similar picture, with new job postings falling 4% from January and total job openings rising a scant 1% from the prior month.

Jobs By Category Feb 2015

But the blended average of new and total job openings still rose nearly 2%, and as a result, our preliminary forecast for March is still a very robust gain of 415,000 jobs. That would put Q1 2015 net job growth at just over 1 million, surpassing even the phenomenal quarter we had to close out 2014. 

Jobs By Qtr 2011-2015

LinkUp Forecasts Net Gain of 4.1 Million Jobs in 2015

To gain additional perspective on the recent state of the labor market, I thought it would make sense to compare the past few years of actual job growth to the seasonal hiring trends that strongly characterize the U.S. labor market in a ‘normal’ environment. The chart below graphs average monthly recruitment advertising revenue of JobDig and LinkUp (JobDig is the parent company that owns LinkUp) over the past 13 years.

In almost every year, revenue starts off in January at the lowest point for the year as companies typically take a month or two to kick off their hiring plans for the year. Hiring then picks up considerably through Q2, plateaus a bit in the summer, peaks in Q3, and then tapers off in Q4. Keep in mind, the chart below depicts recruitment advertising which always precedes actual hiring or net job growth. (Hence our common refrain and well-grounded assumption that the best indicator of a future job being added to the economy is when a company advertises that opening or, better yet, posts that job on its own corporate career portal).

Average alone

In looking at net job gains in 2011, 2012, and 2013, it’s clear that hiring in those years did not track in the least bit with traditional seasonal hiring trends at any point during those 36 months. Recall that in each of those 3 years, early jobs momentum (with endless references to ‘green shoots’) crumbled as the year progressed.

2011-2013

But in 2014, hiring patterns finally returned to normal, with job gains once again tracking strongly to traditional seasonal hiring trends. It is this graph that also points to the very strong correlation between job openings in one period (call it period t) and job growth (or decline) in the next period (t + 1).

2014

If we were to map out monthly job gains in 2015 with near-perfect correlation to historical seasonality trends, the graph of monthly jobs gains for the year would resemble the chart below (which adjusts for the approximated 45-day lag between job openings appearing on a corporate career portal and those jobs being filled with new hires).

2015 Forecast 4M

With all the standard qualifications about assumptions, risk factors, hypothetical scenarios, and forward-looking statements, the graphic above depicts a scenario in which just over 4 million new jobs are added to the U.S. economy in 2015.

annual net job growth 2011-2015

Without a doubt, it’s early in the year to be making predictions about a second consecutive year with 30+% growth in jobs, even considering that the annual growth rate of 32.2% we envision above is slightly less than the 32.9% growth in jobs we saw in 2014. But with the strong start to 2015 and the ‘return to normal’ we saw last year with monthly job gains once again mapping closely to historical seasonality trends, our baseline forecast for the year calls for a net gain of 4.1 million jobs. Let’s hope those $#@!%#$& ‘green shoots’ can maintain their immunity to any Round Up that might come their way this year.

March 3, 2015 / Stephanie Anderson

Layoff rumors? Position yourself for success after the pink slip

shutterstock_166310288Have layoff rumors been floating around your place of work? The thought of losing your job can leave a lump in your stomach and a sour taste in your mouth.

No one likes the stress of wondering each day if it might be your last at work, but even in good economic times businesses can and will lay off employees for a variety of reasons. The best thing is to know the signs and be prepared for the next step in your career. While difficult at first, a layoff might be the reason you find a better job with even better benefits.

Indicators of upcoming layoffs

When large companies plan layoffs, many employees are well aware that they might be on the chopping block in the near future. Other times, a layoff can come out of the blue. To avoid being completely blindsided, here are some key indicators of a potential upcoming layoff:

  • Co-workers have already been let go and there has been no communication that it’s an isolated event.
  • Co-workers are proactively leaving their positions to find new opportunities out of fear they may not have a job in the future.
  • You notice something different about how management communicates about future plans and employee functions.
  • Annual raises and bonuses have been eliminated or significantly reduced.
  • Employee developmental programs are being discontinued.
  • Co-workers are openly discussing their concern for the future of the company and their jobs.
  • Online buzz is brewing on message boards like www.thelayoff.com. (Note: Beware of message board information. While some posts may be accurate, many posts are blatantly false, created only to damage a company’s reputation, not to mention cause unnecessary stress for worried employees.)

Knowing the signs of a layoff is a start, but to protect your best interests it’s best to be prepared before the pink slip comes. Here are 10 simple yet highly effective ways to prepare yourself for a layoff so you can survive and thrive in the future:

1. Organize your job search
Job hunting is time consuming, so you should be prepared to hit the ground running by organizing your search now. Update your resume, assess your list of references and decide on a strategy for getting another position. Be sure to leverage LinkUp’s 5-Step Job Search action plan template.

2. Network
Make networking activities part of your daily routine. Connect with friends, former colleagues, past clients, etc. Join a professional association and start attending meetings. Get your name out there.

3. Update LinkedIn
As part of your networking efforts, make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and active. Don’t forget to upload a fresh head shot, post articles and remain active in conversations.

4. Set up job alerts
Set up parameters on LinkUp to have job alerts sent directly to you. You can start applying for jobs of interest before you even get the notice.

5. Order your finances
Cut back on spending and try to boost your savings as much as possible. It’s smart to live below your means and have a nest egg to fall back on.

6. Use your benefits
Schedule doctor and dentist appointments now and don’t forget about expense reports and reimbursement programs. A layoff means dramatic changes to these benefits.

7. Negotiate severance
If you are offered a severance package, you may be able to negotiate for more money or better terms. Don’t feel pressured to sign anything immediately; simply ask how long you have to review and leverage legal council if necessary before responing.

8. Understand unemployment
Learn about unemployment benefits and how to apply for them in the state where you work. Many unemployment offices let you apply and manage benefits completely online.

9. Gather info
While you never want to take confidential or proprietary information that may get you in trouble, you will want to get necessary information prior to leaving. This could include important contact information only stored on your work computer or samples of work for your professional portfolio.

10. Ask for help
Even if you leave with a great severance package and a recommendation letter in hand, a layoff can be disheartening. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and lean on the support of friends and family so you can stay positive.