Jobs Outlook Cloudy As Holiday Hiring Begins

Posted: October 5th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Career Coach, job growth rate, Unemployment News | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Jobs Outlook Cloudy As Holiday Hiring Begins

Macy’s released news that it plans to hire 78,000 seasonal staff to keep their stores profitable and customers happy during the holiday season. As Macy’s increases it’s holiday hiring by 4% this year, others are slowing down and the job outlook is cloudy ahead for many professionals that have been hunting for what seems like forever.

Payroll processing company ADP reported that private sector firms added only 91,000 jobs in September. When compared to the 15MM+ job seekers in the market, that’s a far cry from where we need it to be in order to balance supply and demand. Worse news came from the economists at that put the estimate at only 45,000 jobs added and revised August’s number down to 89,000 from the originally reported 91,000.  What’s this mean to you as a job seeker?

Holiday Hiring = Good Option

While you may have thought your days in retail were over, take a second look at what this might  mean for your job search. Let’s put aside that this will likely pay less that what you made in your professional career pre The Great Recession days, these seasonal jobs can turn in to full-time positions for top notch employees. They can lead to great networking opportunities within major corporations – for example, Macy’s employs 178,000 professionals. Whether your background is in finance, marketing, sales, operations or merchandising there’s a position in that company your skills transfer into and a season position may allow you to network into that role easier than applying from the outside. Plus, seasonal positions sometimes offer perks like store discounts and we can all use those during budget-tight times like these.

Layoffs Looming

News of layoffs tends to hit us from nearly every angle these days. Bank of America announced $5B worth of layoffs affecting 30,000 staff in September adding to an overall 115K+ total jobs cut by employers in September, up 56% from August. When compared to 2010, this year we’ve seen a 16.5% increase in planned layoffs (475K vs. 411K). The big difference is many companies are laying staff off quietly to avoid media coverage and bad press. These layoffs, combined with the slow job growth, is keeping the unemployment rate at 9.1%.

Stay Focused

Job searching is a frustrating process and in a market that has intense competition and employers that take weeks to respond (some never even do), focus and patience are essential. It’s easy to give up, focus time on something else (Facebook, Farmville or Pumpkin Carving anyone) and dig in your heels. At the end of the day, the early bird gets the…job. Networking is how 80% of jobs are landed in today’s market and that’s where you want to spend 80% of your time. The great news about networking is you’re already doing it without even knowing it. Dropping off kids at school, having friends over for dinner, volunteering at your local hospital – these are all natural networking opportunities where you will likely meet the person who knows someone that is “dying to find you and your skill set”.

Interview Strategies That Work

Posted: September 14th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Interview Strategies That Work

Your resume did it’s job and landed you the interview. Now it’s your time to turn on the charm and ace the interview, only problem is figuring out what works during those precious 60 minutes you have with the decision maker.

Bring Your Personality
According to Kris Plantrich of Fox News DC’s Job Shop, you should bring your personality. Kris says “Remember that the interviewer is looking for much more than just your qualifications. If that were all they wanted they would make their decisions based solely on the resume. An interview is a meeting between two parties and so you are encouraged to be active in the discussion. Hiring managers are looking for someone that is eager to learn and succeed, someone that feels like a good fit for their office, team or department and someone that really wants to work for them.”  The article continues noting that interviewers also want to see if you are someone that can learn and promote their products, services, and company in a confident and positive manner. It is up to you to show your personality and who you are as a person. It won’t help either party if the real and authentic you is not present at the interview.

Be Prepared
This advice seems like a broken record and yet I could retire if I had a dollar for the amount of times I meet candidates that have done next to no research on the company. With the world of Google at your fingertips, searching a company’s website isn’t enough anymore. As Caroline M. L. Potter points out on Yahoo! Hot Jobs, before any interview, you’ve got a considerable amount of homework ahead of you. Make sure you carefully research the company at which you’re interviewing and try to learn as much as you can about the position and your interviewer as possible.

One executive revealed to Caroline that a potential employee was so unprepared that he “got his companies confused and repeatedly mentioned the strengths of a competing firm, thinking that’s who he was interviewing with.” Another called his interviewer by the wrong name throughout the entirety of the meeting.  Always give yourself a few extra moments to prep for your interview, either on the train or subway, or while you’re waiting in the lobby. Review people’s names, the company’s focus and your potential responsibilities, and go in with a clear head.

Dress For Success
One tip I gave during Monday’s Windy City Live appearance at ABC that started a ripple of whispered conversation through the live audience was to match your wardrobe to the company’s colors. This slight shift in attire has consistently hit home runs with hiring managers for over a decade by answering the “fit” question. For men, add a tie that coordinates with the company’s color (e.g. interviewing at ABC, put on an ABC blue tie) and for women, integrate a scarf or blouse that matches the company’s colors. Top it off by polishing your shoes (and nails), having a freshly trimmed haircut and a well-tailored suit. Yes, a suit regardless of how casual the environment – remember, you’re interviewing for the position – you don’t have the luxury of dressing as if you work there just yet (hopefully soon)!  Need a budget-friendly suit option? Check out Nordstrom Rack, Filene’s Basement or Macy’s when they have sales for complete suits! I bought a scarf on sale this week at Nordstrom on Michigan Ave. for $24 (reg. price $115) – sales are a job seeker’s best friend.