Is 50 the New 65?

Why There’s a Good Chance Your Career Could be Over in Your 50s

If you’re nearing 50, older than 50 or plan on being 50 someday, you need to read this: ProPublica.org published a story in late December – one backed up by rigorous research with the highly respected Urban Institute – that said 56 percent of people older than 50 are being “pushed out” of a “longtime” job “before they choose to retire.”

Torrance careers

It doesn’t matter what your salary is, what profession you’re in, if you have a college degree or not, whether it’s a recession or a boom: if you’re 50 and over, you stand a very good chance of leaving your job earlier than you’d like to. What’s more, according to the article, many of those this happens to often suffer “financial damage that is often irreversible.”

Yowza!

The study took a look at data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), considered to be a top source of information regarding aging in America. From 1992 to 2016, the HRS followed what the article calls a “nationally representative sample of about 20,000 people from the time they turn[ed] 50 through the rest of their lives.”

In other words, the study followed people 50 and over through boom, bust, boom, bust, and so on. Through the first tech/Internet boom and the most recent. Through the Great Recession and the current stock market rise and jobs boom and found that between the time someone “entered” the study and when he or she left paid employment, 56 percent “are laid off or leave a job under such financially damaging circumstances that it’s likely they were pushed out rather than choosing to go voluntarily.”

And what happened to them once they are out of work? “Only one in 10 of these workers ever again earns as much as they did,” the article states. “Even years afterward, the household incomes of over half of those who experience such work disruptions remain substantially below those of workers who don’t.”

We urge you to read the entire article. It’s a long one, but it goes into great detail about the different ways people are told/”encouraged” to leave and who is most liable to be let go. It’s an important eye opener.

Bottom line? Leaving work before you’re even eligible to take advantage of Social Security and Medicare – even being able to start drawing down your 401(k) without tax penalty – is a real possibility for anyone.

It’s obvious this definitely is a form of age discrimination/ageism. The right thing to do is to call your California and Congressional representatives and ask for stronger age discrimination and hiring protections.

Still, understand that leaving your job at mid-life before you’re ready appears to be something to anticipate, as sure as we anticipate that the sun will come up tomorrow and we we’re going to need to eat again a few hours after lunch.

In other words, be prepared to retire in your 50s, rather than your 60s.

Don’t think it can’t happen to you because it can. What will you do if it does? What will you live on? Do you have savings? What’s your debt load like? Will you be paying college tuition for children? Do you have a mortgage?

If you’re 45 and younger (especially if you’re in your 20s or 30s), knowing that this is a real possibility gives you plenty of time to prepare. If you’re close to 50 or already in your 50s, it’s probably wise to sit down with your family and figure out some possible contingency plans.

Being forewarned means you can become forearmed.

If you do find yourself laid off or “encouraged” to leave your employer in your 50s, don’t forget about Helpmates. We can help you keep income coming in while you look for another position. We also can help you find that next position. Contact the Helpmates branch nearest you.

Dealing with an Over-talkative Co-Worker

What’s by far the best thing about work? Engaging with colleagues! Several studies have found that the thing just about all of us like about work the most is the camaraderie and engagement going to work each day provides us as we interact with colleagues and customers.

In other words: we often enjoy work because of our co-workers.  Humans, in short, are people persons!

Fullerton Careers

Yet as much as you enjoy chatting with friends there usually is at least one colleague who just…takes the talking up a notch to where it becomes too much of a good thing. As in, you have a hard time getting work done because a certain work buddy is always stopping by with the latest work news, news of the world, personal news, and so on.

Take a look below to learn how to deal with an over-talkative co-worker professionally and kindly.

  • Remember, chatting is good.

Talking with colleagues helps you build professionally personal bonds. If you want to take  the relationship to a true personal level – that is, be friends beyond work – that’s up to both of you. It’s not necessary to become best buds but daily interaction in a friendly way is important – and makes going to work enjoyable.

  • Always be polite when you want to disengage – or not engage at all.

If a colleague comes up and starts talking without asking if you have the time, politely let him know you are on a deadline or are deep in the throes of something and could this wait until you have more time to give your friend your full attention? Say something like “I’d love to hear more, but I need to get XX done now.” NEVER fib, saying you need to prep for a conversation with your boss in 15 minutes without really having a confab with your boss in 15 minutes.

  • Wear headphones or ear buds when you really want to concentrate.

You don’t need to actually listen to anything, but wearing headphones has become something of a universal “do not disturb” sign in the workplace.

Important nice-guy/gal tip: don’t jam the headphones on as soon as you see Chatty Charlie headed your way. He’ll no doubt see it and his feelings will be hurt. Instead, make sure to put your headphones on every time you need to do concentrated work.

  • You’re wearing your headphones but the colleague interrupts you anyway.

If this happens, explain your need for concentration and ask if your colleague needs help with a work-related problem that can’t wait or if he has other truly work-related news. If he says yes, determine if it really is important. If it isn’t critical for RIGHT NOW, ask if you two could schedule a conversation for a bit later.

In other words, ascertain if it really is important to talk right then because sometimes it, well, is.

  • If your friend doesn’t get the “do not disturb” message for non-critical conversation, it’s time for “the talk.”

Gently explain how much you enjoy speaking with your friend, but that there are sometimes you need to concentrate. You value his friendship, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, and that’s concentrate on something.

If your friend balks or is affronted, understand that your request is a legitimate one: work is for working after all. If your friend doesn’t understand that, it’s on him, not you and it pretty much shows a lack of maturity and/or self-centeredness one his part.

If he persists or if he starts teasing, cajoling, whining, or even bullying you somewhat over this – and especially if the friend still interrupts you without concern for your need to concentrate – it may be time to speak with your own supervisor about it or even HR.

Are you looking for new work friends with whom to share quips at the water cooler? Then take a look at some of our current job opportunities and if one or more appeal to you, follow the application directions or contact the Helpmates’ branch office nearest you.

When it’s Time to “Settle Down”: No More Job Hopping

Is this you? You’re 25 or 27 and have been in the workforce either since graduating high school or college and you’re on your fourth job. You stayed at your first job a year, your second and third jobs 18 months each (well, let’s quibble: 16 months for that third job) and now, well into your fourth you’re getting….restless.

Los Angeles Careers

Stop! Employers tend to be quite open to young people who move from job to job their first few years in the workforce. But around or even before the five-year mark, they start to think twice about hiring someone who sticks around for less than a couple of years at previous jobs, especially if someone has four or more jobs on the resume in those five years.

And the job-hopping stigma is particularly acute for college graduates or for those with certifications/licenses that put them on a more traditional career track. In fact, job hopping, if done strategically – and if the hopper has an in-demand skill – can be a way to accelerate a career trajectory and/or receive considerable salary increases with each jump.

But the operative words here are: in-demand skills and strategic. Most people tend to hop about haphazardly, and that kind of job-to-job movement can hurt you in the long run, especially if several employment stints in a row are less than nine months to a year in length.

Here’s how to stop incessant hopping as you approach your mid- to late-20s.

  • Your youth IS a time to explore.

There’s really no harm nor foul if you start your first “real job” after college or high school graduation and then leave in less than a year. Employers understand this: they know that young workers may not know exactly what they want out of their work life/career. They know that even if the young person was gung ho in the beginning, she may end up finding that the company or career just isn’t for her. So leaving your first job before a year is up is OK.

However, if you enjoy the work, if you like the company, and especially if you come to the realization that this career really is one you want to pursue, you could aim to stay there for two years or so. There’s no harm in sticking around in your first job, either.

  • Remember, no matter how much you love a company, an industry or your job, it will get boring. All jobs do.

Our point? Don’t leave a job merely because you get bored. Or the excitement dissipates. No job is fun all the time. Most jobs have a lot of repetition and same old, same old. This is reality. This is the way of work and careers.

You don’t need to stay if you’re miserable, of course, but it’s often the case that newly minted workers somehow, kinda sorta, subconsciously hoped the world of work would be exciting, fresh and new All. The. Time!!!

So if you leave your first job in eight months because it wasn’t as exciting or interesting as you’d hoped, and then you leave the next one after 14 months for the same reason, and a third job after a year for pretty much the same reason, pause a minute because it may not be the job. It may be your expectations.

If that’s the case, re-read the bullet point just above.

  • How to find “the one.”

Once you’re ready to “settle down” for more than two years after moving between 3-4 jobs by your mid- to late-20s, you want to find a position that you can stick around for more than two years, one in which you can grow and prosper.

You’ve no doubt found what you don’t like about certain aspects of an industry or career, so you know to steer clear of those. You also probably know what you do like, so you want to move toward those aspects.

So before accepting a new position, follow your gut…and your head. Research the company thoroughly online: check out its LinkedIn page, its social media channels, its news releases, etc. Read its website thoroughly. Google its name and see what information comes up. After the interview and before you accept a job offer, ask if you can talk to your possibly-soon-to-be-new colleagues to get a flavor for their personalities and how they enjoy working there.

In other words, because you plan on sticking around for a while, you should aim to find out as much about the company as possible so that you’ll know more about what you’re in for. This way, you will be able to “commit” to your next employer for an I-can’t-believe-you’re-asking-me-to-stay-here-for-more-than-two-looonnnnnng-years time period.

Working as a temporary associate with Helpmates allows you to explore many different industries, companies and even roles within those companies and industries, helping you discover which ones appeal to you for the long term. Take a look at our current opportunities and follow the application instructions on those you find interesting.

The Signs Are There. Do You See Them? A Layoff Is Coming.

Did you not see it coming? Were you gobsmacked when your boss called you in to her office one Friday afternoon to let you know you were being pink-slipped? Did you walk out of the building in a daze as you held a small box with your personal items? Did your spouse or parents open their mouths wide in shock when you told them you’d been axed and say the words you’d been saying to yourself all afternoon: “How could this have happened!? What a surprise!!”

Cypress jobs

What a surprise indeed.

NOT!

Very few layoffs happen in a vacuum. Truly: very few. There almost always are signs, indications of a pending reduction in force (known in the biz as a RIF) at your employer. Here are a few of them, below.

Signs, signs, everywhere a sign.

Businesses lay off employees for many different reasons. Among them are financial issues, mergers/acquisitions, loss of market share, weak earnings for more than one quarter, simple cost-cutting measures, etc.

The easy-to-see signs in such cases (corporate issues) include:

  • Your employer puts a freeze on spending. Not a freeze on hiring – not yet – but projects that a month ago were on the docket are postponed, capital improvements are delayed, etc. Business travel is curtailed and/or you’re asked to travel coach rather than business class.
  • Perks start disappearing. No more Free Lunch Fridays. Business trips have you staying overnight at The Sleep Inn, not the Hilton.
  • If there’s a big financial crisis – a merger/acquisition, stock sell-off, or your company’s latest and biggest product falls absolutely flat – start firing up your idling professional network and revamp that resume. And pronto!

You could call these signs of impending continued-employment doom “macro” signs because they tend to be of a company-wide sort. There also are signs of a “micro” ilk: they are smaller and are more subtle in their clue-giving.

  • Your boss is often too busy to meet with you. For several weeks.
  • You’re not receiving the plum assignments anymore. In fact, your workload may even lighten.
  • You’re not asked to attend key meetings anymore.
  • You’re moved to an entirely new position. One you didn’t ask for. You don’t receive a pay cut, but there’s no raise either. Extra “goodbye to you” points if the position is lower on the org chart.
  • You’re put on probation for performance issues.
  • You’re asked to take a pay cut. This could be a company- or department-wide request, if it’s more of a macro-issue for the entire department/company. Regardless, if this happens to you it’s time to start looking for a new employer…yesterday.

It’s the Economy, Bucko

Recessions, come and go, come and go, come and go. It’s the absolute way of things. Just because it’s a definite candidate market today doesn’t mean a recession doesn’t arrive in year or two. Because recessions are inevitable. And with them come layoffs: many employers lay off many hard-working, talented people. Since a recession is coming (someday, and possibly soon), we wrote recently on how to help yourself become recession-proof.

Regardless of the reason, if you’ve been let go recently, contact the recruiters at Helpmates, as we can help your find a new job and/or help you keep money coming in while you look. We look forward to hearing from you.

Getting Your Job-Search Mojo Back

Looking for work is hard and it certainly isn’t a night out on the town with your friends. It’s hard and a slog whether you’re looking while employed or whether you’re unemployed, making it quite easy to lose your “passion” for the endeavor.

Fullerton Jobs

But persist you must, especially if you’re currently out of work. Here’s how to get that job-hunt mojo back!

  • Talk yourself up to others and…to yourself!

If you want to hear no all the time, look for work, right? So many “no thank you’s” pile up. And pile up. Again and again and again. It’s no wonder you start doubting yourself. And if you’re looking for work because you’ve been laid off or even fired, the negative talk to yourself can build exponentially with each negative response.

Here’s the good and bad news: we are what we believe we are. As in, how we talk to ourselves truly matters. Talk trash about yourself, you’ll feel like trash. Instead, take inventory of your better qualities (and no matter who you are, you have great qualities) and make sure you communicate these to people with whom you network and in resumes/covers letters and during job interviews.

  • Show employers how these qualities – as well as your skills and experience – benefit them.

Sure, you may be great at “reading people,” but that doesn’t say anything about how that helps an employer. For example, does “reading people” mean you’ve discovered you’re great at sales? If so, give concrete examples of how you’ve overcome some pretty solid objections and landed a big sale.

Remember: whenever you’re looking for work you need to understand and be able to articulate how your qualities and skills solve an employer’s problems.

  • To-do lists and set schedules are your friends.

The more you look for work, the faster you’ll find employment. After all, the more people with whom you connect and then ask them others with whom you might want to talk, the more informational interviews you’ll receive. The more informational interviews you receive, the more real job interviews you’ll land. The more interviews you go on, the more job offers you’ll receive. And then – oh, then! – you well may find that you have the “problem” of choosing between two or even three great job offers.

But you don’t connect with people by merely scrolling the job boards. Even applying for jobs on job boards won’t do you much good: 85 percent or more of all jobs are found via networking. And unless you have daily job-search goals/to-do list, and unless you actually adhere to your to-do list, your job search won’t move nearly as fast as it could.

So keep the positive talk going,  set a work schedule for your “job” of looking for work, and make sure you connect with real people in real life (or at least via email and phone) and you’ll start seeing results.

Make sure you bring your skills, education and positive self-talk to Helpmates by contacting the branch office nearest you and setting up an interview with one of our recruiters. And/or: take a look at our current job openings. If one or more look interesting, follow the description’s application instructions.

If You Don’t Know Where You Want to Go in Your Career, How Can You Get There?

If you don’t know where you want to go, going anywhere will do, right?

But do you really want to “go anywhere” when it comes to something as important as your career?

La Mirada Careers

We know of a truly and genuinely nice man, nearing retirement, who has worked in the cut-throat, exceedingly stressful financial services industry most of his working life. He has made an extremely good living for his family and his wife is quite grateful that his career has made it easy for her to be a stay-at-home mom. But he hasn’t been exactly…..happy in his career.

How did he get into this miserable-yet-lucrative career? He says he pretty much fell into it. He’d wanted to be a journalist in college but he graduated in the midst of the 1980 recession and journalism jobs were hard to find and didn’t pay well, so he took a gig in a bank. And then another position in a financial services firm. Then he got his MBA. Then he got married. Then he started making some serious money. Then they had children and the couple decided she would stay home. More money. More expenses (his children are lucky – and know it – because he and his wife paid for their children’s private-college tuition). And so on. And here he is today, literally counting the days until his retirement.

“If only I’d thought beyond taking that second job because it ‘paid more,’” he says.

Don’t let that happen to you.

No matter where you are in your career – graduating college or high school this spring, a year or two on this side of graduation, five years out, in mid-career, and so on – thinking about where you want to go helps you actually get there.

Yet, unlike the man described above, having a vague “I want to go into this and that” won’t get you far. After all, what if it’s not easy to find jobs in the field you’ve chosen (journalism jobs aren’t exactly plentiful today, either)? What if you meet up with roadblocks? What if you need to postpone the career for a bit and take another job until you find one you want? What if you find you don’t like where you’re headed?

What’s your Plan B? And Plan C? And so on.

But don’t worry, it’s not that you need to map it out completely.

After all, most of us have no idea what will make us happy in the future: we have an “idea,” but we don’t test it out. We think we’ll enjoy being an actress but – oops! – we never thought beyond actually being in a play or movie and forgot how awful it is to actually audition again and again and again and hear no so many times our head explodes from the rejection.

So while you don’t need a step-by-step plan, be careful. Take time to sit with yourself and be brutally honest. You want to help troubled children, but you also love to travel to Europe. Perhaps working as social worker – with its low salary – isn’t for you.

Conversely, let’s say you know exactly what type of career you want and you’ve thought it over carefully, talked to people who work in it, perhaps interned or volunteered within and it feels just right.

Now ask yourself, where do want to be within it in five years? Will you need more education or skills training? Do you want to go into a leadership or management role? How do you know if you’ll be a good fit? What will you do to find out?

And so on.

In other words, don’t wing it: have a plan, yet keep it flexible. Do so, and you have a greater chance of finding work that suits you as well as a career that unfolds as you want it to.

If you’re not quite sure if a field of work is the one for you, experiment with it via temporary assignments with Helpmates. Contact the branch office nearest you and let us know what you’re looking for. If we can help you “try a career” or job, we’ll be happy to do so.

 

So You Trashed Your Career When Young

Let’s say you were – like all of us – young and foolish. Let’s also say that you were so foolish that you trashed your career in some way:

Carson careers

  • You told your boss you were sick so that you could take the day off to see a ball game, but who should you see at the game but your boss (who took real PTO) and she fires you on the spot.
  • Or you weren’t “foolish” per se: bad things do happen to good people: you went through a nasty divorce and couldn’t function well at work and got fired, for example.
  • Or you took a youthful chance and cashed in all your retirement savings at age 29 to start the company you told yourself you always would before you were 30….and it failed, leaving you with pretty much nothing and a big gap in your work history.

Things, in other words, happened, and you need to pick up the pieces and put the trashed part of your job history behind you.

Here’s how to do so. Take a look below.

  • When you have pretty much nothing but bad job references.

If you were fired for cause (as in the first trashed-career example, above), or if you’ve left jobs too soon, too often, and/or before they could fire you, you probably have few if any good references. You’re going to need decent former-employer references to land a decent job. What to do?

You’ll need to both ‘fess up and find different references.

If applying for a job that requires references as part of the application process, be ready. You should talk to friends who know you to be of good character who can speak of that good character. List them as references.

Once in the interview, the hiring manager or recruiter undoubtedly will ask for some on-the-job references. Here’s where you tell the truth and you make it totally your fault. Tell the interviewer you were young, you were foolish, you were cocky, you made some doozy mistakes. Tell the interview how you “paid” for those mistakes (fired, demoted, had to take lower and lower paying jobs always quitting jobs, and so on).

Then be sure to tell the interviewer what you learned from these mistakes and how they’ve actually helped you: you’ve matured, you’ve seen how being arrogant before proving oneself (even AFTER proving oneself) is never a good thing, and so on.

Then offer references at former employers who can speak well of you.

You can bet that the company will try to speak to your former manager, so having backup references of former colleagues who can sing your praises will be a big help.

  • When your life blew up, you didn’t handle the stress well and your boss ended up letting you go.

Very similar to above: tell the interviewer you were young, your personal circumstances took a turn for the worse, you didn’t handle it well, and you’ve paid the price. Let the interviewer know what and how you’ve learned from the experience, and so on. Keep those reference of non-former-boss people who speak well of you handy.

  • When you took a big risk that didn’t pan out.

This is where you explain your lack of current job references and the gap in your history to as the fact that you took a risk to follow a dream. Most hiring managers understand the impatience of youth and will cut you some slack for following a dream that you probably didn’t plan well enough for. Take full responsibility for the disaster and tell the interviewer what you’ve learned from the experience, making sure to add how your new-found wisdom and skills will help his company. (They will, by the way: failure is a terrific teacher.)

Need to get your career back on track after some self-administered or “life” setbacks? Helpmates can help. Many of our temporary assignments can help you get your career back on track rather quickly. Contact the branch office nearest you to register with us.

A Recession (Probably) is Coming: How to Become Recession-Proof

The sun comes up; it sets. You eat a meal because you’re hungry and you become hungry again in a few hours. You slept yesterday, you’ll sleep again tonight. It’s the way of things.

So are economic recessions. The economy always rises and falls, rises and falls. Always.

Economic recessions occurred in the U.S. most recently in:

Huntington Beach jobs

  • December 2007- June 2009 (also known as the Great Recession)
  • March 2001- November 2001
  • July 1990 – March 1991
  • July 1981- November 1982
  • January 1980 –July 1980
  • November 1973 – March 1975
  • December 1969 – November 1970
  • (There have been several more since the Panic of 1785; the U.S. has weathered almost 250 years of economic recessions.)

Notice a pattern on the list above? Recessions tend to come around about eight years after the previous one ends. The Great Recession ended in June 2009, almost 10 years ago. Many economists believe we are quite overdue for the next one and just as you always will fall back down to earth if you leap up, another recession is coming, possibly as early as later this year (but more than likely some time in 2020).

Many of you may never have experienced a recession in your career (you graduated high school or college in 2010, for example). If so, you may think that this hot candidate’s market will last forever. It won’t: recessions mean that employers cut back on hiring and lay people off. People out of work don’t have discretionary income so businesses lose sales and….lay people off. More and more people are out looking for work. Competition for jobs heats up. Instead of there being more job openings than job seekers as it is now (with 0.9 people available for every opening), things will reverse and you may find yourself competing against dozens of other people who, just like you, need a job.

Do NOT Think it Won’t Happen to You!

Sure, it may not happen to you. But, truly, it could: no one is irreplaceable. And, if you’re one of these types of workers, chances are better that you will be among the first to go if you’re employer needs to save some money.

So how can you make yourself recession proof? Read below.

  1. Remember: It CAN happen to you!!

We really can’t emphasize this enough.

  1. Be indispensable (as much as possible).

While no one truly is indispensable, if you have a reputation of being the go-to guy or gal and the person who gets things done, it’s going to be much easier to lay off your slacker coworkers than it will be to let you – you dynamo, you – go.

In a similar vein, the more of a utility player you are, the better. If you can do many things (for example, in marketing you write copy, perform market research, you LOVE data, etc.), the more tasks you’ll be able to do when your department has fewer people. The more you can be a Swiss Army knife of skills and abilities, the more your manager will see you as “Hmm, I can let Josh and Emma go, and then Tyrone can take up the slack,” the better chance you have of surviving.

  1. Start networking. Now!

Relationships count in a recession. You should start cultivating strong relationships with good people throughout your organization. You also should – if possible – strengthen your relationships with any clients your business serves (“We can’t let Charlotte go; the XYX account LOVES her!”)

Also start reaching out to peers within your industry and forge relationships. Be of help. Offer your expertise. Remember: LinkedIn is your new BFF.

  1. Keep your skills up to date.

Never become complacent. Always be learning, especially when it comes to technological tools. Doesn’t matter if you’re 50, 35 or 25, if you don’t know something, be amenable to feeling awkward and stupid while you learn it. Regardless: do it!!

To paraphrase Game of Thrones: Recession is coming. Prepare yourself.

Another way to get ready is to start cultivating relationships with recruiters, including staffing recruiters. As one recruiting professional told a laid-off worker during a recession years ago “The best time to reach out to me was before you needed me.” Harsh? Yes. But true.

Send in your resume/cover letter. Be nice when a recruiter contacts you about an opportunity. Follow him/her on LinkedIn and offer value when you comment on a post. Go ahead and ask for advice (don’t expect a really detailed answer and say thank you when it’s given). Have you ever ghosted? Those days are over!

For more information on how we can help you now and in the future, contact the Helpmates branch nearest you.

You Got the Job Offer! Should You Take It?

You applied for a job opportunity. You were called in for an interview. You aced it. You were called in for another interview. Ditto. The hiring manager tells you she’ll make her decision in a week and in that week you hear from her and she offers you the job!

You’re excited, naturally. Flattered, of course! Proud of yourself, natch!

But just because you’re offered a job in no way means you should actually take it.

careers in cerritos

Take a look below at four things you should consider before accepting any job offer.

  1. Do you know what constitutes success in the job?

In other words, has your potential new boss spelled out clearly what she expects of you? If in doubt, take a look at the job description and go over it with her, asking her for clarification and – more importantly – asking if there’s anything she expects that’s not in the description.

Taking a job with ill-defined expectations can be a prescription for disaster. If your boss says “I’ll know when you’re doing a great job when I see it” also could end up meaning “Your idea of what  ‘doing a great job’ means is not mine.”

  1. Do you think you and your boss and new coworkers will have a respectful, friendly relationship?

If you think you can be respectful but not head over heels in “like” with your boss/coworkers, that’s OK. Respect is far more important than liking each other because if your boss/coworkers don’t respect you, chances are great they won’t “like” you much either.  A lack of respect means they won’t trust you, won’t have your back, will second guess you, etc.

Still, having respect for and liking each other will make your working relationship much more enjoyable and will go far in helping you succeed in the job. But if there’s no respect, your working life will be miserable.

Another important aspect of respect/like: do you think you’ll fit in with your department’s/company’s culture? It’s probably best to go with your gut on this one: what was the vibe of the department when you visited/met with colleagues? If your intuition is saying there are red – or even yellow – flags ahead, it may be best to turn the job down.

  1. Does the position fit in with your overall goals?

Many of us see our career going in a certain direction. While it’s sometimes necessary to go sideways or even move “down” a bit in order to get ahead, if the new position isn’t going to at least teach you new skills or put you in front of new challenges – especially if they can help you move to the next step upwards – it may not be a good idea to take the job.

For example, let’s say you’ve been working in as an account executive in finance but want to move into marketing. It may be a good idea to take a “step down” and work as a marketing assistant in a finance firm that has a marketing department. But if it’s a lateral move with a salary increase to another finance company – but one that has no marketing department and no chance to learn marketing skills – you may want to turn it down.

Which brings us to the last thing to consider when deciding whether to take a job offer…

  1. Money isn’t everything, but it definitely IS something!

We put the salary question last because while money is an important consideration when mulling a job offer, it’s not the most important thing.

As mentioned above, it may not be worth it to take a job that offers no new challenges even if it pays more. It also may be advantageous to your career to take a job that pays a bit less so long as you the new position challenges you and helps you get where you want to go.

Still, you do want to feel that you’re being fairly compensated and you also want to look forward to the benefits package offered. (Remember: if you’re not happy with salary/benefits, the only time you can easily negotiate them is before you accept the job offer.)

If you’re looking for new opportunities – whether temporary, part-time or direct-hire – check out our job openings here with Helpmates. See one or two you like? Follow the instructions on the posting and/or contact the Helpmates branch nearest you.

Hacking the College Job Fair

Yep, it’s February. If you’re a college senior, you’re busy. And one of the things your busy with is getting ready for your campus’ college job fair this spring.

jobs in carson

What? It’s not on your radar!!! Why not!? College job fairs are a terrific way for you to land job interviews with potential employers. Understand that you’re not going to get a job offer at a career fair: your goal instead is to line up job interviews with different potential employers.

The great thing about college career fairs is that employers come to scope out potential employees. They want to talk to you and, if it you looks like you might be a good fit, set up a full-fledged interview at a later date.

So sign up for the career fair!

Yes, dozens if not hundreds of your classmates are going as well. But they may not have read this blog post. YOU have and in this post are three hacks that, if you follow them, will get employers to ask you in for a job interview.

Warning: these hacks will take some time and a good bit of effort on your part. But if you want to stand out, put in the time and you’ll be rewarded.

Take a look below for our three college job fair hacks.

  1. Study the list of companies coming to the fair.

See what companies are coming and then go research the ones that look interesting to you. And almost all of them should look interesting to you because even though, for example, you’re looking for a marketing job, just about  every company has a marketing department, so don’t automatically say no to a bank or a manufacturer, etc. Still, it’s OK to designate your top 10-15 companies and then focus on them

By study we mean, research. Take a look at its website. Look it ALL over, not just the careers or jobs page. Read as much of the site as you can. Take notes about things that pertain to your degree field.

Read everything you can about the company.  Google it and see what others say about it. Check out Indeed.com and Glassdoor for reviews.

  1. Decide what skills and experience you bring to an employer that bring value.

Remember: employers hire people to solve problems. What problems do you solve? What value do you bring to an employer?

Yes, you have little to no real-world experience in the field you want to enter. But do you have initiative? Are you a member of the dean’s list? Have you worked full-time while going to school full time (that shows you know understand what hard work is and that’s highly valuable to an employer)? And so on.

Write down the skills you have that the field you want to enter requires. Have professors, managers at internships, etc. commented on how great these skills are?

You’re going to need to know what problems you solve/value you bring because now you’re going to….

  1. Write a custom cover letter and resume for EACH company you intend to visit at the career fair.

That’s right: one cover letter and one resume for EACH company. No template cover letters/resume for you. And, while many people say there’s no need to bring a cover letter to a college career fair, writing one specifically for each company helps you stand out. And standing out is what you want.

Yowza, this is going to take work! Yes. It certainly is.

But understanding what particular skills and background you provide to a company and then showcasing how they bring value to a particular company shows a recruiter you understand why an employer hires people.

Any time you look for work you should make it as easy as possible for an employer to hire you.  Presenting how you help solve a company’s problems, etc. makes it a lot easier for a recruiter to see how you match a company’s needs (she doesn’t need to read between the lines) and you’ve made it much easier for her to ask you in for a formal interview.

We can pretty much guarantee that very few – if any – of your classmates are going to customize a cover letter/resume for each company at the job fair. Few – if any – of your classmates are going to be able to talk to a recruiter with as much information as you will because of your deep-dive research. Perform these hacks and watch how well recruiters will respond!

Want some real-world experience before you head to the job fair? Take a look at our job opportunities here at Helpmates and if one appeals to you, follow the instructions on the opening or contact the branch office nearest you.

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