How to Make Sure You Won’t Be Miserable at a New Job

Make sure this isn’t you:

You start a new job, one you’re really excited to begin. But in just a few weeks – maybe even just days – you find that you’re actually miserable.

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You realize too late that you chose to take a job that’s just awful.

Here’s how to make sure a new job will be one you enjoy.

  • It all starts with the job description.

Read the job description carefully. It often tells you what type of company you’ll find yourself in.

If it describes the company or department as lively, energetic, with a big focus on teamwork, but you’re shy, prefer working alone if possible and want quiet, it may not be a good fit. And, if it appears too quiet and you like intermingling with coworkers, it also may not be the job for you.

  • Take a look at where the job is located and consider the commute.

Take a close look at the job description. Don’t assume that you know the name of the company so you therefore know exactly where the job is: the job may be in a satellite location.

Folks who live and work in Los Angeles and Orange counties aren’t afraid of “long” commutes, of course, but if your commute will be 30-40 minutes or more, consider hard before choosing this position, especially if the commute will be an hour or more: long commutes absolutely can make you miserable. (Or as this article’s headline states: ”Long Commutes Destroy Happiness.” How’s THAT for being for being blunt!?)

And if you think a higher salary will compensate for that long commute and make your life less miserable, you’d be wrong.

  • When interviewing with your future boss, how do you feel?

This pretty much means “going with your gut” and your gut usually isn’t wrong.

If you feel uncomfortable with your boss, if you feel your personalities will clash, you’re probably right. No amount of money or career progression will make this situation better. You’re boss isn’t going to change. If anyone does, it will have to be you. That’s really no way to have to live one-third of your day (8 hours on the job): to twist yourself into a pretzel in order to “get along.”

  • Ask to see where you’d actually be working.

This also is “going with your gut.” If you see the office, the department, the warehouse, etc. and it’s dark and dingy, or your colleagues appear to be unhappy (or sourpusses). Or they’re absolutely ebullient and you think they’re too much so? Again, go with your gut.

Our surroundings matter. Naturally, a distribution center will be noisy; you understand that. But is it dirty? Is it dusty? Does it have plenty of sunshine? If it does and you don’t mind, good for you? Really!

If you work in customer service, you know that you’ll be hearing your co-workers. But do they talk over one another? Or are they too quiet? How do you feel when you see the room? Again, your surroundings matter. Don’t ignore this sign that you could feel out of place.

  • Ask to see if you could speak with a few of your future colleagues.

You won’t be visiting with them long, but you’ll get a sense of their personalities and how they react to you. Again, your gut won’t let you down: if you feel uncomfortable in their presence, this may not be a good place for you. Even if you get a sense that just one of them is stand-offish or, conversely, too friendly, that also may be a sign, depending on your particular personality.

  • Make sure to ask about duties and hours.

Jobs may say they are eight hours a day, but they often are longer. Ask about flexibility: can you work at home some days? How does the company feel about leaving work early if a child is sick, etc.?

Bottom line? The more you know about the environment (both physical and personal), the corporate culture and your boss’ expectations, etc., the better you’ll be able to sit alone for a bit after your potential new boss offers you the position to decide if this job is a good move for you.

If not, say no to the offer. Keep looking. A great job IS out there for you!

Speaking of great jobs….

Take a look at Helpmates’ current opportunities. See one or more you like? Then either follow instructions for applying and/or reach out the branch office nearest you.

Make Your Resume Stand Out Now and in the Future

Most job seekers are aware that hiring managers spend precious little time looking at individual resumes. So, you need to capture their attention quickly and make them want to read more.

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But, in addition to incorporating information that will pull them in, you also want to avoid other problems that will get your resume tossed quickly in the trash can. Here are a few tips.

  1. Really watch for grammar and spelling errors.

This may seem so obvious that it does not need to be mentioned. But it does because it’s surprising how often errors crop up in resumes. After putting together many resumes for different job opportunities and reading them over, you are more prone to skim the writing and to fill in the gaps mentally. It’s therefore becomes easier to miss errors.

To prevent this, have friends or family members help out by reading the resumes. Each person should focus on one area, such as spelling or grammar and punctuation.

When a hiring manager sees an error, it does not make a good impression at all and can sink your chances of getting an interview.

  1. Tailor your resume to the job.

Each resume you send out needs to be customized for the job you are applying for. You need to take your cue from the job description, taking note of what keywords are used and what kinds of skills are emphasized. Then you need to use the same keywords in your resume and also highlight accomplishments that relate to the sought after skills mentioned in the job description.

  1. Watch your formatting.

The resume needs to be well organized and easy to read. Avoid large blocks of print and long sentences. Make sure you have adequate white space, using headings and short, compelling phrases. Use boldface and italics where appropriate, such as headings and text that you want to stand out.

Some people try to squeeze in more information by using a smaller font and shrinking the margins. But this is not a good idea because it makes the resume harder to read, and a hiring manager is not going to take the time to pick his way through it.

Review and edit your resume several times to make sure you have trimmed all unnecessary information, that your writing is simple, clear and direct, and not wordy.

  1. Focus on accomplishments, not job duties.

You are not going to impress anyone by simply listing job duties and responsibilities. You will make a more compelling case by listing your accomplishments. How did you change or improve things?

Include facts and figures to support your statements. You should not just say you increased sales, but exactly by how much.

You also don’t need to give information about every job you have ever had. If you have had jobs that bear little relevance to the one you are applying for, you can simply give a quick summary.

  1. Use active verbs.

Active verbs have the name because they show movement and action. For example, words such as led, managed, planned, produced and generated are all active verbs. These are the kinds of words you want to use in your resume to show your skills and abilities.

  1. Highlight important skills.

Skills that are essential to the job should be listed at the top of the resume in the professional summary. Don’t wait to list them later in a skills section, for example.

Your summary at the top of the resume is the equivalent of an elevator pitch – a short, powerful statement why the company should hire you.

Many people are looking for work now. If you haven’t lately, take a look at Helpmates’ current job opportunities and, if one or more interest you, follow the listing’s directions and/or contact the branch office nearest you.

Talkin’ ‘Bout Those Transferable Skills

You may be dissatisfied with your current career and looking to make a change. It’s a big decision, enough to put a few butterflies in the stomach of the most unflappable person, especially is you’re worried about how your current job skills will – or won’t – transfer. How do you get started, and what do you need to do? Here are a few tips.

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  1. Reflect

The first step is to examine your motivations. Why exactly do you want to make a switch? Are your reasons compelling enough to warrant such a big change in your life? For example, you may be dissatisfied with your current job because of a bad boss or work environment, or lack of growth opportunities in your current job. These problems can often be addressed without launching into a new career.

Think about the aspects of your job that you find most and least satisfying. Would your new career increase your job satisfaction where it is lacking now? What are you most passionate about, and will the new career allow you to fulfill your passion? Finally, how are you situated financially as you make the transition?

  1. Research

You need to do a lot of this. First, you need to find out as much as you can about your new career. You may have a pretty good idea about what it involves, but you need to get into the weeds and learn about what it is really like to do the job.

These days, there is no lack of resources to help you do this. You can look at journals and books or check out the many different resources online. Websites such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor are invaluable resources to make connections with people who work in your prospective career. Pick their brains for information about the job and ideas for making the transition.

You will also need to find out if you will need additional training to prepare you for entry into your new career.

Research for the job search

The next step is preparing for the job search. You will need to put together a resume and cover letter and update your LinkedIn profile. You will need to research companies you might like to work for and find out which ones you want to target in your job search.

You will need to network with friends, colleagues, contacts on social media, and through informational interviews to gain the attention of your target company. And you will need to prepare for the job interview itself.

  1. Transferable skills

To make your case to a hiring manager and persuade him or her that you have what it takes to do the job, you need to show how the skills you have developed in your previous jobs are transferable to the one you are seeking. You may see little connection between the skills you have and the skills you need, but there probably are a number of skills you have developed that any employer would want.

Some examples of these transferable skills include communication skills, leadership skills, research and analytical skills, organization and time management skills, collaboration skills, numeracy and information technology skills.

What you need to do is show the employer how you used these skills at your previous jobs to achieve your goals, and how they will enable you to excel at your new job. Giving examples of transferable skills will help to show the employer that you are the right person for the job.

And there’s good news: all employers are looking for these kinds of skills, because they’re necessary for almost all types of jobs.

Are you ready to put your current skills to work in a new job? Take a look at our current opportunities and then either follow the posting’s application directions or contact the Helpmates branch office nearest you to register with us.

When it’s Time to Start Your “Plan B” Job Search

When the pandemic hit, and lockdowns proliferated, companies began furloughs and layoffs. You lost your job. Since then you have been operating in job search mode, trying to find a position that will move you along in your career, work that fits the skills and talents you have acquired in your profession and that you find interesting and challenging.

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But it’s been several months with only a few nibbles. Will the situation improve? Who can say? As of early August there were more than 31 million people without a job. The future remains uncertain. It may be time to move from Plan A to Plan B in your job search.

Plan B is expanding the job search beyond those jobs and companies that you really want to a different type of position or even industry to give yourself more opportunity. Here is how to develop your Plan B.

  1. Define your optimal job

Your first task is to make a list of the characteristics that define your dream job. This will help to guide you as you expand your search.

Think about what the perfect job would be like for you – what would it pay, what kind of work-life balance would it offer, how stressful would it be, what would the company culture be like, what kind of flexibility would it offer?

Then think about your skills. List what hard skills you have, the kinds of abilities that are measurable, as well as the soft skills, things like communication skills, empathy, ability to work with others, problem solving.

Look at Plan B jobs with an eye for how they can help you eventually land a job that you really want. Look for connections between the two in terms of the types of skills they use. For example, if your ideal job is in advertising, you could also look for positions in related fields such as public relations or marketing, jobs that will enable you to gain skills that will help you to land a job in advertising.

You also should keep going after the Plan A jobs. Look at the job descriptions for different types of Plan A jobs to learn the kinds of skills these jobs require, so you can pick up these skills with Plan B jobs.

Also, see what type of training you can undergo to help gain the skills you need.

  1. Network

The importance of networking is common knowledge. It should be an integral part of your job search. Try to expand your network of contacts during your job search. The new people you reach out to may be able to give you insights into different industries, jobs you had not considered before, or companies you did not know about.

Talk to them about both your Plan A and Plan B goals. Ask for recommendations and advice or possible contacts at companies. Then work to expand your network by reaching out to these people online. When you talk to someone, always ask the person if there is anyone else you can talk to for information.

  1. Informational interviews

Informational interviews, as the name implies, are just for the purpose of gathering information. They are not job interviews. When you reach out to new contacts, ask them if they have a little time for an informational interview call or video talk. They may be able to give you worthwhile knowledge about companies and jobs.

Before you talk to a person, however, you should do some preparation. Learn as much as you can in advance about the person and their company, so you can ask intelligent questions. Draw up a list of questions beforehand as well to ensure you cover the topics you want.

  1. Consider temporary assignments

If you’ve yet to receive a job offer for the type of position you want in the industry you want and you’re getting worried about finances, consider working with a temporary staffing company such as Helpmates. Temporary work can help you keep some income coming in while you continue hustling for your Plan A position.

In fact, you may find that a temporary position with us becomes your Plan B: many temporary positions often do become regular, full-time opportunities.

Take a look at our current openings and application instructions. You also can register with the branch office nearest you.

 

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