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.

Southern California’s Job Outlook for 2019

So here it is, mid-January. Talent still is hard to find around the country. Candidates are ghosting when it comes to job interviews and even employees are just leaving their employer without notice.

But that’s nationwide. What’s this year’s job outlook for Southern California? We put on our sleuthing hats to find out.

  1. More of the same: an absolute candidate market (at least through the 2nd Q 2019).

Brea Jobs

No surprise there. According to the California EDD (scroll down to the link at “Short-Term Projections: Two-Years” and download the spreadsheet), employment in Orange County from 2nd Quarter 2017 to 2nd Quarter 2019 is projected to grow overall by 3.4 percent (interestingly, self-employment is projected to grow by 4.2 percent). Not every employment sector is going to grow (mining and oil/gas extraction, for example, is projected to fall by 8.5 percent overall), but most are growing.  Manufacturing is to grow 1.8 percent; while software publishers are to grow a whopping 13 percent; auto equipment sales and leasing by 6 percent; professional and business services by 3 percent; advertising, PR and marketing by 3.4 percent; professional, scientific and technical services by 4 percent; office administrative services by 6.7 percent; and so on.

(Take a look at the document; it’s fascinating. For example, if you’re looking for work in the “travel arrangement and reservation services,” growth is expected to be 5.6 percent. And this, remember, is in a day when many of us make our own travel arrangements online. So much for the “death of the travel agent”!)

  1. But that’s statewide. And it’s for mid-2017 through mid-2019. What about in Southern California and in just 2019?

We hear you. It’s a bit trickier to find info/predictions for just Orange and Los Angeles counties, but here’s what we found: we may experience an economic slowdown in late 2019.

If you don’t want to read the link, here’s what it says in a nutshell:

Although the economy is currently operating at full employment and benefiting from the massive tax cut and spending increases, the economic stimulus coming from that combination will likely run out in 2020, and deficits it creates will linger for another decade.

In spite of concerns about the risk of a full-blown trade war with China, the forecast for the U.S. economy is one of growth, albeit slower growth. California remains one of the most prosperous states, with a strong market that is expected to continue to grow.

You’ll notice it says the big growth ends in 2020, but further down the report states the growth “will slow to 2 percent in 2019 and to a near recession at 1 percent in 2020.”

As for California: the state’s growth will slow along with the nation’s but our economy is still expected to grow faster than the country’s as a whole. Here’s the skinny, below:

The total employment growth forecasts for 2018, 2019 and 2020 are 1.7 percent, 1.8 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively. Payrolls are expected to grow by 1.7 percent in 2018, by 1.8 percent in 2019, and by 0.8 percent in 2020. Real personal income growth is forecast to be 2.5 percent, 3.6 percent and 2.9 percent in 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively. California’s average unemployment rate is expected to have its normal differential to the U.S. rate at 4.2 percent in 2020. Home building will accelerate to about 140,000 units per year by the end of the 2020 forecast.

  1. Most job growth is in the Inland Empire.

Sorry, OC and LA, but the job growth is greatest due east. Which could be great news if you live there and work west and wish to find a job closer to home. Pay rates are a bit lower, however. For example, Indeed.com reports that the average hourly rate for an administrative assistant in Anaheim is 16.21/hour while in Riverside, it’s $15.28. Yet housing also is less expensive, with the median gross rent in Riverside County hitting $1,212/month, while it’s $1,264 in Los Angeles County and $1,608 in Orange County. (Data is from 2017.)

  1. Wrapping up.

So things look great for job seekers for at least the next six months and possibly throughout the entire year. After all, slower growth still is growth. But don’t be complacent because often in business, slower growth often means….job cutbacks! And that means the unemployment rate will rise and jobs will be harder to come by.

 

So if you can:

  • Learn new skills.
  • Take note of your accomplishments and add them to your resume.
  • Work to add value to your employer (don’t just “show up for work,” do the minimum expected of you and then think that you’re “valuable”).
  • Grow your professional network.
  • Never, ever become complacent. If you’ve never been laid off from a job before, if you’re laid off next year or early in 2020, get ready for potential WEEKS of unemployment. It happens. And to talented, valuable workers. No one is immune.

That’s why it’s a good idea to have a Helpmates recruiter in your professional network. In fact, take a look at our current opportunities, and if one appeals to you, follow the directions to apply. You also can contact the branch office nearest you to register.

The Wisdom of Creating Your Own Brain Trust

CEOs have them. So do entrepreneurs. What they have is a small group of people – possibly five or so – that they go to when they need objective advice and strategy. This group is known as a brain trust and you should have one for your career.

Garden Grove jobs

A brain trust is something akin to having mentors, but not quite. Mentors often work in the same field/profession as their mentee but have much more experience. Members of a brain trust, however, have experience in a different field/profession. The idea is that all of you receive input and knowledge from people at your level who know things you don’t. In other words, a marketing professional may want a brain trust that includes an attorney, an accountant, an HR professional, and so on. Having such a network allows all of you to tap into each other’s expertise and help each other out when needed.

Finding Your Brain Trust

As mentioned above, you don’t really want people in your field, but individuals who share the same type of vision for their careers in different fields.

Chances are good you already know several people who could become members: your neighbors, former school mates, former colleagues, current employees of your current employer but in another department, and so on.

Your brain trust can be quite informal: just ask if people want to join and if they’d be available quickly for their input when any of your trust’s members need input, advice, knowledge, a shoulder to learn on, etc.

It’s Best to Ask for Advice Instead of Favors

Brain trusts aren’t really “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” Instead, your trust is a group of people you go to for knowledge and ideas, not for introductions and favors. Referrals eventually will come from your trusts’ members naturally, but it’s best to approach them by asking for input rather than asking them to do something for you.

If, by chance, you hear that one of your trust’s members is facing a problem but hasn’t reached out to you, it’s perfectly OK to reach out yourself. Don’t assume you know what your fellow trust member needs; just let him know you’re there, just in case

You Don’t Even Have to Create an Actual “Brain Trust”

Many people have people in their professional network that they often go to when they need advice/input. In fact, chances are good that you already may have a brain trust of sorts if you find that you have two or three people that you often call upon to “get their input.” And you may find that the same handful of people call upon you every now and then.

It’s wise to actually think about people you’d like to add to your trust (formally or informally) as you find people whom you automatically think of when you need some type of input.

The point is: always look outside your department/employer/profession “bubble” for people you can turn to when stuck, when you need input, or when you need a fresh take on an old problem. Doing so can help you progress in your career while also growing a network of people with a (more than likely informal) vested interest in your success.

If you’d like some new input regarding career possibilities, take a look at some of our current opportunities and either follow the instructions to apply when one or more pique your interest or contact the Helpmates branch nearest you.

When Following Your Passion is a Bad Idea

We hear over and over to “follow our passion” when it comes to careers. But this may not be a good idea. After all, our skills and natural abilities must align with our passion in order to be successful within it. For example, if we have no sense of rhythm but still love to dance, do we really think competing on – let alone winning – So You Think You Can Dance? is a viable possibility?

City of Orange careers

In addition, think about the times you’re doing whatever it is that really floats your boat. Often it’s every now and then for a few hours a time. What if you had to do it eight hours a day, five days a week? Then it becomes work and work is something we must do about 40 hours a week, whether we’re “in the mood” for it or not.

Plus, no matter how great a career or job is, there’s always something about it that is tedious. Take, for example, the woman we know who is a physical therapist. She loves working with her patients. But then – oh, then! – there’s the paperwork. About one hour of paperwork for each patient. She generally sees four patients a day and then needs to get four hours of paperwork done. And she hates the paperwork. HATES IT!!! And yet the paperwork (patient notes and insurance forms) takes up half or her work day. Is this a career/job she enjoys? Is it worth it to love – or at least really like — what she does half the time when the other half is absolute tedium?

What we love changes over time.

This, unfortunately, is far too true: we as humans are really, really, really bad at predicting now what will make us happy in the future. If you’re 21 chances are the thought of sitting at home reading a book or watching Amazon on a Saturday night sounds like the last thing you want to do (FOMO and all). But – and it’s hard to believe, we know – by the time you’re in your mid-30s or so, going to a club on a Saturday is all “been there, done that.”

In your 20s , 30s and even 40s, all you can think about is getting to the top of your career. But as you age, that desire fades. Big time. So much so that puttering around in the garage or hanging around the soccer field watching your kid play community soccer is your idea of a great time! And this holds true for both women and men. So working 80 hours a week to build a business probably isn’t going to be all that enjoyable once you hit 40 and beyond.

Making a contribution/a difference leads to the most career satisfaction.

Studies show that the key to happiness for humans in relationships/connections. What’s more, a feeling of mastery and a feeling of purpose/meaning – of contributing to something greater than ourselves – is truly what makes for satisfaction at work.

In other words, find the things at which you’re good (bonus: you probably enjoy doing them) and figure out what type of career/job involves using those skills. Using the physical therapist example above, she always loved working with people, she’s always enjoyed learning how the human body “works,” she’s interested in fitness and health, and she enjoys making her patients’ lives better.  The  loathsome paperwork? It’s a real bear. But she figures half a day of happy and meaningful work makes up for the other half. Overall she’s quite happy.

What are you good at? Take your skills and make a real contribution to businesses throughout Orange County and Los Angeles. Look at the opportunities we currently have open here at Helpmates and contact us/apply if one or more look interesting. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Moving from Colleague to Manager

Congratulations on your promotion to manager! Now you’re the supervisor….of your past colleagues!

Moving from co-worker to boss can be, well, fraught. No longer can you be true buddies. No longer can you dish on the boss together because, well, you’re the boss! Now you have to discipline former peers when they don’t perform as expected or needed. What’s more, you’re now going to have to deal with other managers as a peer and you want to make sure they look at you as an equal, not as a subordinate.

Take a look below for tips on how to make a smooth and successful transition to management.

Brea Careers

Dealing with Former Co-workers as a Supervisor

Face it: your relationships will change and it’s best to deal with it ASAP.

In fact, if at all possible, meet with your colleagues as soon as you’ve heard of the promotion.

Ask them all to lunch, for example, let them know of your new role, how excited you about the added responsibilities and how you realize things may be a bit awkward for the first few weeks or so.

Once the promotion takes place, meet with the team again and let them know your vision moving forward.  Ask them for ideas for improvement and let them know things will take time to improve, but that you’re committed to taking  the department  to new heights.

The most important thing you can do is establish your authority. For example, if during your first meeting with your new team, the “how can we improve things” discussion devolves into a whine-fest.  If so, speak up quickly and ask team members to bring up problems that have a solution and remind them to offer potential solutions as they do so.

In addition, never give special privileges or breaks to former colleagues.  Doing so only helps you stay their “buddy” in their eyes; you must establish your authority.

Finally, you must understand that you probably aren’t going to be asked to go to lunch with the group or meet with them in your favorite after-work hang out. You certainly can ask about family and non-work activities, but you will need to do so as a manager, not as a work buddy.

Becoming an Equal in Other Managers’ Eyes

If you treat your former colleagues as a leader — always with great respect – rather than as a colleague, your new manager peers will notice.

And, speaking of what they’ll notice, they’ll notice if you continue behaviors more typical of a subordinate. In other words, if you were routinely late to meetings and continue this pattern, you won’t be taken seriously. If you complain about upper management without offering possible solutions, you won’t be taken seriously. In other words, remember you’re your fellow managers’ peer and act accordingly.

To do so, take a look at a manager you admire. Watch what he/she does and how he/she does it. Aim to do the same in similar circumstances. In fact, it may be wise to ask this seasoned manager to be your mentor.  For example, chances are great you’re going to have to discipline a former co-worker at some point and if you’ve never done so before, you’ll want to do so as well—read: managerial – as possible . Going to a mentor and confidentially asking for advice on how best to do so can go a long way to helping you become the well-respected manager you want to be in the eyes of both former colleagues and new peers.

Looking to move up in the world? Is your Brea employer too small able and not able to promote you to the level you deserve? Then contact Helpmates. We have many direct-hire positions (you never work as a temporary associate but are hired directly by our client) with some of Orange and Los Angeles counties’ top employers. Contact us today.

When You Have to Give Tough Love at Work

No matter if you’ve just become a manager or supervisor or you’ve been serving as one for a few years, there’s going to come a time – perhaps sooner than you think – where you’re going to have to provide some tough feedback to one of your team members.

When do such times crop up? When an employee is late in meeting a deadline. He rarely takes initiative. She made a mistake that could have been avoided. He has poor time-management skills. Her overall performance suddenly has taken a dive.

Take a look below for suggestions on what to say to these members of your team when warranted.

(Important note: always have these conversations in private – and private means in an office with the door closed, not huddled at the employee’s work station.)

Fullerton staffing agency

  • She misses a deadline.

Do you know why you weren’t able to meet the deadline/the project was late? Whenever you believe you’re going to be late with something or miss a deadline, I prefer that you let me know as soon as you think this may happen. That way we can see if we can find a solution to whatever is keeping you from completing a project on time.

  • He has overall poor time-management skills.

I’ve noticed that you tend to struggle with time management. When you’re late or behind it effects everyone because your colleagues often can’t do something until you do your part. Can you tell me why you’re struggling? Would meeting with me every morning for a few minutes help you prioritize your tasks  and goals for the day? I’d also like to encourage you to read [this book; these blog posts] on time management. They have many great strategies you can start implementing immediately.

  • She just doesn’t take initiative.

I’ve noticed that you haven’t been able to get yourself started on some tasks/projects you’ve been assigned.  Can you tell me why, in confidence? Is there anything I can do to help? Are you feeling overwhelmed and perhaps need to learn project management?

I know you are capable of doing this, otherwise I wouldn’t have asked you to. Perhaps if we met each morning briefly for a couple of weeks to discuss what needs to be done would be helpful to you?

  • He made a mistake that could have been easily avoided.

No one likes to make mistakes and I know you didn’t want to make this one. What’s done is done and we’re not going to dwell on it. What do you think you could have done to avoid it?  What are you going to do differently from here on out to make sure you don’t make a similar mistake again?

  • Her performance has been declining.

I’ve noticed that you haven’t been working at your usual high level and so I wanted to touch base with you to see  if there’s something I can help you with. If you want/need to talk to me about something, please know that I’m always here to listen, talk and act as a sounding board. Do you feel comfortable talking to me so that I can know what’s going on and together we can work to solve it?

Does your Southern California company need some more terrific people to manage? Let Helpmates help! We can source, vet and place skilled and reliable workers for your temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire opportunities. Contact the branch nearest you.

Can I Wear a T-shirt to a Job Interview?

Our first thought when hearing this question is “Heck, no!’ But then we realized: the workplace is much more casual today than even five years ago. Many people wear t-shirts on the job, so it’s an understandable question: why couldn’t you wear one on a job interview?

Buena Park Job Interview

Well, today, you probably could, if you’re a woman and the shirt is made of a dressier weight fabric such as silk or a fine knit and you wear a work-appropriate jacket or blazer over it. Or if you’re applying for a job in a warehouse/distribution center. And then the t-shirt must be very clean and free of graphics.

We provide those ifs and caveats and suggested jackets to wear because it is important to dress well for a job interview. Why? Because dressing (more) professionally (than you normally do) shows that you take the entire process seriously. Work is a serious business: an employer is going to hire you to solve his company’s problems and he wants to know if you take that task seriously. Dressing professionally signals that you understand this.

That doesn’t mean you need to wear a suit and tie (if male) or a skirt suit (if a woman). It does mean you should dress well for an interview and that definition will vary depending on the company’s day-to-day dress code as well as the role for which you’re applying.

If you don’t know what the company’s dress code, it’s perfectly OK to ask the recruiter or hiring manager.  (You can do so when asked to come in for an interview: ask if the company’s dress code is professional, business casual or casual.)

Below are different interview outfits to wear for your interview depending on the dress code.

Men

Professional: A suit and tie. If you don’t have a suit, a pair of nice slacks and a blazer (such as khaki slacks and a navy blue blazer). Shirt should be collared and long sleeved. Shoes should be dress shoes.

Business casual: You don’t need to wear a suit, but you should wear nice slacks, a collared long-sleeve shirt and a blazer. Take a tie along and if you see men wearing ties, duck into the men’s room before your interview and put it on. Save the polo-like shirt for when you start working there. Shoes don’t need to be dress shoes, but they shouldn’t be sneakers and they should be clean and/or polished.

Casual: If you’re going to be working in an office, you really can’t go wrong with a blazer. You can wear a nice polo under the blazer with nice chinos/khakis. You can wear a short sleeve shirt, but long-sleeved is better. You can ditch the tie. No sneakers.

If you’re interviewing for a warehouse/distribution/labor position, chinos/khakis and a polo or collared short-sleeve shirt are appropriate. Work boots, so long as they are clean, are fine. Jeans, so long as they are absolutely clean and not faded, ripped, or excessively baggy/loose also are fine.

Women

Professional: a skirt- or pant suit is appropriate. No prints.  Darker colors (navy, black, grey) are best. Blouse should be solid or have small stripes. No florals. Jewelry should be kept to a minimum. Stud earrings are best; if you wear dangling earrings, they should be short. One bracelet at the most (if you wear a watch, skip the bracelet). Necklace should be single strand and not too long.

Pantyhose no longer are required but polished heels (no more than three inches high) or professional-style flats are fine. Keep perfume to a minimum (none is best).

Business casual: A more casual-style skirt- or pant suit is fine, as are slacks and a short-sleeved blouse, knit sweater (this is where you can wear that refined t-shirt) under a blazer or jacket. A simple dress also is appropriate and it’s a good idea to wear a jacket or cardigan sweater over it (jacket/blazer is best). The dress should be a solid print; slender stripes are OK but stay away from bold prints/florals. The dress should not be one you would wear to a party or for a night on the town. Keep the stilettos at home. No jeans.

No sneakers with the slacks. Keep jewelry and perfume to a minimum (none still is best).

Casual: khakis/chinos and a short-sleeved blouse/nice sweater/knit t-shirt is OK. If wearing a sleeveless sweater, wear a cardigan over it. A skirt and blouse is fine but it shouldn’t be a denim skirt/going out skirt and shouldn’t be too short.

If you’ll be working in a warehouse, etc. jeans are appropriate, so long as they are exceptionally clean, not faded, ripped or torn and not excessively baggy or tight. A polo-like is best; if wearing a t-shirt, stay away from graphic tees. It should be clean and not ripped. Clean work boots or clean sneakers are fine.

Are you looking for work in the Orange County/Los Angeles region? Helpmates needs you! We have many temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire job opportunities waiting to be filled! Take a look at them and if you find a few that appeal to you, contact us or follow instructions on the job description.

When You Chose the Wrong Career

It happens: we spend four – or more! – years studying for a certain type of career or profession and then two or three years after working within it, we come to the conclusion that it’s simply the wrong career. For us.

If this is you, don’t panic.  Read below to find out when a career really is the wrong one for you.

Here’s a typical scenario: It’s Sunday afternoon and you start to dread going to work. As in, you contemplate somewhat seriously if the fifth “I’m not feeling well and won’t be coming in today” excuse in three months is going to cut it. (Hint: it won’t.) Once at work, you constantly count down the minutes until quitting time. Your family comments again and again that you look miserable.

Brea Careers

And you definitely are, but before you decide to open up that art gallery you’ve always wanted, understand that you may be miserable not because you’re in the wrong career, but because you’re working for and with the wrong people and/or in the wrong industry.

There’s a terrific saying that’s a cliché but still true: “People join companies but they leave managers.” Your colleagues and manager do make or break your day-to-day enjoyment of the job

If this turns out to be the case, then consider finding another job either in a different department or in a different company within the same industry. Or perhaps you enjoy the tasks of social media, just not in and for the insurance industry? Time to switch to an industry you think you’ll enjoy

But if:

  • You feel that working in this career means you have to compromise your values.
  • You conclude that this career/industry may be DOA in a few years. (Hello, artificial intelligence!)
  • You realize your basic personality simply isn’t cut out for this type of career: not all really personable people are great at sales, for example.
  • You decide that the career you chose for love just doesn’t pay the bills and you’ve crunched numbers and you’ve sadly discovered that the things that are most important to you in life are unaffordable within the career path you’ve chosen.

Then it may be time to change careers.

Still, be careful here. Perhaps a compromise can be made. As mentioned above, it may be more the industry in which you’re toiling and not the career itself. For example, perhaps you want to take your social media skills and help make a difference instead of help sell consumer goods or services. Then it may be a good idea to work for a non-profit.

Or if you’re a lawyer toiling in a law firm, look into working as a corporate lawyer.

If you’ve decided that yes indeed you need a change, before changing careers, consider looking into industries that can use your current skills. For example, in Southern California you could:

  • Take your administrative skills from a distribution center to a college campus, a marketing company, a financial services firm, etc.
  • Move from HR with a retailer to HR in a startup.
  • Change from accounting in a non-profit to within the entertainment industry.
  • And so on.

In fact, moving to a new industry within your career is a great way to ascertain if it’s just your co-workers or industry making you miserable, or if it really is the career. (And if you do discover that if you’ve truly chosen the wrong career, read our blog post on how to successfully change careers.)

If you’re looking to take your skills to a new industry, contact Los Angeles and Orange County’s premier staffing firm, Helpmates. Take a look at our direct-hire, temp-to-hire and temporary opportunities and then follow the instructions regarding applying when you find one or more that appeal to you.

Congratulations on Graduating! Now Get to Work!

Graduation was mere weeks ago. Congratulations on your accomplishments and – if you’ve found one – starting your new “real job.”

Your campus’ career center and/or family and friends may have given you lots of great advice and guidance when it came to finding that job, but how many of these folks told you what it’s really like to work in the “real world”? Not too many, probably, since your and their main focus was on finding a job.

But now it’s just a few days since you started – or will start. Here are two tips to help you thrive in today’s workplace.

Orange County entry-level jobs

  1. It’s called work for a reason.

Sure, you’ve no doubt heard that phrase before. And that’s because it’s true. You will have to show up on time, dressed appropriately, take 30- or 60-minute lunch break (and only 30 or 60 minutes), do just about everything your boss asks you to do (even if it’s not in your job description), get along with coworkers who may come from extremely different personalities and backgrounds/world views than you do, and deal with the public in some form. Plus you have to provide value to your employer: it’s not about your needs and career dreams, it’s about your employer’s goals. Remember that (and help your employer meet those goals) and your employer will help you meet yours.

Here’s an example of what not to do/attitude to take (and it’s a true story): A young woman fresh out of college had been in her new job about six months. She lived near the office and often went home for lunch.

One day she didn’t come back until 2:30 p.m., telling her boss she ended up taking a nap and overslept. Her boss said that was unacceptable behavior and she needed to be back “on time.” “Pay me more,” she said, “and I’ll be sure to be back on time.”

Needless to say, she was able to go home immediately to continue that nap.

  1. Try to learn as much as possible about the company’s goals and challenges.

Continuing on with the “help your employer meet his goals” strategy, understand that the best employees always want to know more about their employer’s company, long-term plans, etc. They are eager to learn new things (take your employer up on workshops, seminars, certification program offers, etc.) and they volunteer to work on projects and tasks not in their job description.

That said, here’s another caveat and another true story: Make sure you volunteer for more only if it doesn’t interfere with what you were hired to do. Don’t, in other words, be the young man who asked his boss if he could do XYZ in addition to his ABC duties. The boss said yes and the young man did the extra work well, but neglected the work for which he was hired, the work his boss needed done. His boss ended up firing him.

This is an exciting time for you: the workplace is a new world and you’re eager to make your mark within it. You will find roadblocks on your way and you may find yourself taking two steps back in order to move one step forward. That’s OK and par for the course. Learn from your mistakes. Never give up. Help others. Be of value. Ask for mentors. Take on challenges and risks. Never become complacent. Thrive!

If you’re looking for a job out of college or high school, contact the Helpmates office nearest you. You can also take a look at our current job and career opportunities. Welcome to the workplace and much good luck to you!

Job Search Strategies for Over-50 Job Seekers

It’s sad and, unfortunately, true: even in this hot, hot, hot candidates’ market, it can still take people 40- and 50-plus a long time to find work, especially if they’ve been laid off or out of the workforce for a few years going back to school,  raising a family or taking care of an ailing loved one.

It can feel as if employers have all the power. After all, they hold the job you want and age discrimination laws or no age discrimination laws, they decide which candidate they will choose for the job (and it could well be someone over 50, just not you).

over-50 jobs Los Angeles

So unless you decide to become self-employed, you’re going to need to come well prepared as you approach your job search. Here are six strategies to help you level the playing field more in your favor.

  1. Ditch the dates.

You don’t really need to put dates on your resume.  (For example: Assistant Director, XYZ Services, 1992-1997.) If you feel you must, go back and list employers no more than from 15 years ago.

  1. Create a functional resume.

Most people use a chronological resume, with their most recent jobs showcased at the beginning of the document. Instead, highlight your key accomplishments and skills at the top of the resume, then follow with an abbreviated list of prior jobs.

  1. Highlight accomplishments rather than responsibilities.

Employers hire people who can do the job. What have you accomplished that show you can do the job?

  • Promoted to branch manager within six months of being hired.
  • Cold called 100 businesses each week, in person (not by phone).
  • Closed $10 million in new accounts in three years. (This one should be prominent!)
  1. Highlight your technical skills.

Employers too often erroneously believe older workers may not be “up” on the latest technologies. Disabuse them of this early by listing up-to-minute technical skills in your cover letter and during the job interview.

  1. Be flexible.

Understand that you may not be able to get a job at the same pay/responsibility level if you’ve been out of work for a while and/or laid off. Let the employer know that you understand that the company isn’t there to fulfill your career aspirations; you’re there help the business succeed and you’re eager to get started and prove your worth in a position that may be at a lower responsibility level than what you’re used to. It’s more than fine to mention that once you have proven yourself, you would enjoy talking to the hiring manager about opportunities for advancement.

  1. Look for work at companies that say they hire people older than 50.

Some companies encourage older workers specifically to apply to work for them. SimplyHired.com, for example, allows companies to specify “people over 50.” Use that search term, plus the city you’re interested in and see what pops up. You also can try Workforce50.com.

Be aware, however: one woman “test drove” those sites and found that searching on them provided “no real advantage” than searching on sites such as LinkedIn and Monster.

Whether you’re just starting out in your career, you took some time off for a valid reason, you’ve been laid off, or you’re a seasoned professional, Helpmates can help you find work! We have dozens of temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire opportunities. Check them out and contact us today!

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