6 New Rules for the Modern Job Search
Last week, a recent college graduate sent me her resume to get my input. As a journalism student who majored in advertising, she’s looking for jobs where creativity is key.
Overall, her resume nailed it: unique and a bit edgy. To the traditional resume reader, this resume would drive them nuts! However, because it breaks a few rules of resumes, it stands out from all the rest.
One thing she did, which is considered a “no-no” by resume experts: she used “I”.
Given the layout and creativity that went into this resume, the fact that she used “I” did not detract from her marketing document… to me, anyway. Yet we know that some resume reviewer at some old-school company might put her resume in the “no” pile for that one issue. What a shame.
Upon reflecting on this, it occurred to me that there are a lot of “rules” about resumes, letters, networking and job search in general that really should be thrown out in today’s digitally-driven job market. So here are my “new rules for the job search”:
Content Is King (or Queen)
The new rule dictates that you must give high priority to the content and relevance of a resume – and not have a hissy fit if someone gets creative or breaks a silly rule, like using “I.”
I will admit: I am one of those people who has pitched such fits in the past. I am a picky editor and believe in following style guides and conventions. However, let’s allow creativity into the realm of resumes, including (gasp) pictures and images, as long as we have a common understanding: the most important aspect of a resume is that it demonstrates the individual has the knowledge, skills, abilities, attributes and background that are relevant to the company or specific role within the organization.
It’s OK to Talk About Salary
There’s a current “rule” that spanks job seekers for bringing up salary. It’s forbidden to ask about salary too early on in the process. The new rule ponders why job seekers would even have to ask in the first place. The new rule dictates that employers must post a salary range in all job postings. And until that happens, the new rule says it’s acceptable to ask an employer the salary range before you apply.
“When hiring teams and candidates avoid dialogue about pay expectations during the hiring process, they miss an easy opportunity to confirm that the organization’s appetite to pay matches the job seeker’s financial needs,” says Chris Fleek, director of HR services at Octane Recruiting. “If there is no common ground then any time spent discussing that particular role is wasted.” Bringing up the topic of salary does not mean that you are only concerned about money. It means that you do not want to waste your time and theirs for a “vice president” job that pays $40,000 a year. Adds Chris, “Shouldn’t all involved want to make that determination as early as possible?”
Redefining the “Informational Interview”
I love informational interviews and highly recommend that every college junior and senior set upat least three informational interviews before they graduate. As a student, it’s the perfect time. Working professionals will absolutely give you the time of day, and as a student, you truly are seeking information and can benefit immensely from it. The problem is the “walking on eggshells” aspect of the info interview with rules such as “don’t give him your resume” or “don’t ask about jobs at his company.”
The new rule dictates that we will replace the term “informational interview” with “exploratory meeting.” First of all, let’s take the word “interview” right out of it, and by saying “exploratory,” it opens up the option to discuss job openings.
Nevertheless, that discussion still need to happen in a subtle way when the time is right, but let’s stop being coy with the whole informational interview process and stop pretending that the job seeker is really just on a quest for information.
“Overqualified” is Not a Bad Thing
As someone who’s over 40 (OK, you got me… I can hardly remember my 40th birthday), I’ve lost out on job offers to candidates in their early 30s. Why is experience a bad thing? Does the hiring manager, who might be younger, lack confidence? Does he or she think I’ll come in and try to take over? Do I want more money? There’s only one way to find out… pick up the phone.
The new rule dictates that HR and hiring managers must not make assumptions about candidates who are fully qualified to do the job. They must clear up any misconceptions and misgivings by making a ten-minute phone call.
Unemployed Does Not Equal Damaged Goods
As someone who’s alternated between management positions and unemployment a couple of times since 9/11, I sense a bias against unemployed people. Most of the time, it’s not overt, but I’ve observed that the communication dynamic changes from being on equal footing when employed to second-class citizen when out of work.
Other career and recruitment experts have picked up on this trend as well, citing companies that prefer to hire people who already have jobs. Kelly Blokdijk of TalentTalks brilliantly skewers the absurdity of it all in this piece in Fast Company. The new rule dictates that you must judge people holistically, using common sense and relevant factors. As with the “overqualified” new rule above, don’t make assumptions.
As someone who’s done his fair share of job seeking and a career advisor, these are the new rules I want to see my HR and recruiting colleagues follow. I look forward to your comments.
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HR’s Big Challenge for 2013: How Do We Help Our Organizations Succeed?
What did you learn today?
“Morning Joe,” which is a show that I watch on MSNBC, always asks the most profound questions at the end of every show. Each guest talks about their learning moment for the show.
During the hiatus from work last week, I heard the question asked and thought about it in the context of what I do as a consultant, blogger, and social media enthusiast.
Given that it was the end of one year and the beginning of a new one, I looked back and thought about 2012 and what I learned.
What did you learn?
HR has been headed into an unrelenting storm. Transforming HR has been the focus for the past few years. It makes you wonder: where are we headed and when will we get there? Then again, maybe you are already there. I do know that there is no one size that fits all. Best practices, while good to be aware of, are not the silver bullet.
HR is in an enviable position at this point. Our work is being discussed in the board room; our work is being discussed by the CEO (CEO Insomnia Index).
As David Ulrich said in his book, HR Transformation: Building Human Resources From the Outside In,“Simply stated, we propose that the biggest challenge for HR professionals today is to help their respective organizations succeed.”
That, to me, is our overriding mission and that is my learning point for 2012. How do we help our organization succeed? That is the big question in all of our lives — or it should be.
We have better buckle up because the runway is clear. There are no planes ahead of us. We are positioned to take off. We have to become students of our own profession.
The organizational environment has become far more complex than ever before, both the internal complexity as well as external forces of Hurricane Sandy magnitude. This complexity has been driven by huge technological changes, layoffs, industry disruptions, economic turmoil, and more. In every walk of our professional lives, change is at the forefront.
These changes have in turn been an equal opportunity affecter. Whether in your industry, your organization or individually, change has permeated our environment. The world in which we all operate has become extremely complicated.
Do you understand the position you are in?
What are the main issues facing your organization? That should be at the top of your 2013 to-do list. HR must know what it takes to get your organization back on track, or to stay on track for that matter.
How can HR make sure that alignment between the organization, its employees, and other stakeholder groups stays aligned? As Dave Ulrich said, “How can we help your organizations succeed?”
Today, organizations are more complex than they were 10 or 20 years ago. The factors that I see that are:
- The economic environment (which includes the organization’s financial situation as well as the competitive and general economic environment).
- The technological environment has disrupted our entire society. How do we play in the new environment?
- The social/cultural environment.
- The sustainability environment (what is your organizations strategy and how does that align with your people?).
- The regulatory and legislative environment. New taxes, new health care laws will be felt for years to come.
This is the whirlwind that has engulfed your environment. The unrelenting pressure shows no sign of letting up. But then this is not be a pity party for HR because Marketing and IT and other departments are all both trying to navigate this within their organizations.
So as we analyze what we have learned and use those as anchor points to move forward, we must remember what I think are the four most important words in our lexicon: Read, discuss, analyze, and formulate.
Happy New Year and welcome to the new normal.
All about Human Capital by Morten Kamp Andersen
How to tell the difference between good and great HR analytics – part 1
Question: What is the difference between good and bad analytics?
The answer is probably best illustrated like this;
This is bad analytics:
You have received the latest performance management data from all five divisions. You know from experience that the data is questionable – in two of the divisions many of the inputs are the default settings. You also hear that the managers have a somewhat relaxed attitude towards the accuracy of the data (to say the least). Your report show that absenteeism is flat at a reasonable level. You report this with satisfaction.
This is ok analytics:
You get the latest voluntary employee turnover data and see that the figures are trending upwards. The level is above the 6 month moving average. You dig deeper into the data and see that it is in particular in three division the employee turnover has been higher than expected. These division have three things in common; a new leader has been employed, workload has increased and they are client facing. You contact the relevant HR partner and suggest that they implement the usual retention initiatives.
This is great analytics:
You get the latest voluntary employee turnover data and see that the figures are trending upwards. The level is above the 6 month moving average and 2 %-point higher than sector-adjusted benchmark. You dig deeper into the data and see that it is in particular in three division the employee turnover has been higher than expected. These division have three things in common; a new leader has been employed, workload has increased and they are client facing. You then decide to interview relevant people in those divisions including leaders and employees as well as the HR partners. You read relevant academic research and case studies on effective measures against voluntary turnover in your particular sector and discuss this with experienced managers and HR partners within your company. You suggest three actions; coaching for the leaders, competency profiling to match job demands and team building. Your data suggest that these three initiatives will reduce the voluntary employee turnover from the current rate to 1 %-point below the benchmark at a ROI of 55%
So what is the difference? Great analytics
All about Human Capital by Morten Kamp Andersen
How to tell the difference between good and great HR Analytics – part II
In my last post I argued that great workforce/HR analytics share four common traits; they are
- made on reliable data
- combined with qualitative data (and perhaps some intuition)
- used an evidence based approach.
But there is one thing missing and probably the most important thing; It must be based upon a strategic approach. I know that”‘strategic” is such an overused word in HR now and frankly most of what is said about strategic is anything but. However there is no getting away from the fact, that you can do good analytics with the above four traits without actually adding much value. Without doing analytics on the right things AND in the right way it really amounts to very little.
Or to put it in another way: Workforce analytics without a strategic approach will only with the help of luck turn out to be truly value added.
What does strategic approach mean in practice? The best way to illustrate this is to look at the difference between a bottom-up or top-down approach.
Analytics can be bottom-up (operational) or top-down (strategic). The bottom-up approach is the approach many take. They combine their data into Big Data and look through interesting ways of diagnosing, measuring, illustrating, visualizing, trending and reporting the data. They find interesting links between employee turnover and profits (no kidding!), talent profiles and performance or particular training programs and customer satisfaction. That’s when they are good. Sometimes they just show which divisions are experiencing lower employee turnover!
The top-down approach on the other hand start with your HR strategy (which of course is aligned with the business strategy). You then look at which areas you want to focus your HR efforts. Then you find the desired knowledge you require to make the right decision. The you design the data required to provide you with this knowledge.
Good analytics made from a bottom-up approach can give good results; they can surprise you, show links you hadn’t seen before and even challenge your strategy. BUT that approach must not stand alone. The primary use of analytics should be top-down. That’s the strategic approach and that is likely to support you most.
Remember: Workforce Analytics is ‘just’ a tool to make better HR decisions. It is a great tool for that, but if you are an HR executive looking to make strategic HR decisions, your analytics has to be strategic too. Don’t look at the data you’ve got and make the best of them but instead look at what data you need to create the most value-added predictive analytics.
Talent Management software is used by companies to recruit, manage, evaluate and compensate employees. One of the fastest growing sectors within the HR software industry, the talent management software market is currently estimated to be $4-6 billion. Below is a look at the most popular options as measured by a combination of their total number of clients, active users and online presence. In order to see a comprehensive list, please visit our Talent Management Software Directory.
© 2012 Capterra, Inc.
I wonder if all our companies are aligned with these 2013 trends…..
Will Facebook continue its reign atop the social hierarchy? Will businesses get better returns on their social media investment? Will your CEO finally learn to tweet? Here’s a look at the biggest social media trends set to unfold in the year ahead.
Mobile social media usage continues to soar: In September, Facebook made a monumental–if little noted–revelation in a quarterly SEC filing: “[We] anticipate that the rate of growth in mobile usage will exceed the growth in usage through personal computers for the foreseeable future.” Mobile Internet users are set to overtake wired Internet users by 2015 in the U.S., but this shift is happening far faster on social platforms.
What does this mean for the future of social media? Networks that make engagement on the go easy–especially visual platforms like Instagram–are at a significant advantage (Instagram, in fact, already has more mobile users than Twitter). Meanwhile, traditional networks must work to better differentiate their desktop and mobile experiences–ensuring that mobile interfaces are streamlined and fast-loading, while also taking full advantage of GPS, near field communication (exchanging information by touching smartphones) and perhaps evenambient location functionality.
At the same time, developing viable advertising options for mobile platforms is more critical than ever. Finding ways to squeeze ads onto tiny mobile screens has thus far proved a serious Achilles heel.
Social advertising grows and evolves: To solve the mobile revenue puzzle, social networks will push ahead next year with new social ad models. Traditional banner and interruption ads will decline, replaced by innovative offerings like Promoted Tweets and Sponsored Stories. What makes these so-called native ads unique is that they don’t look like ads at all, apart from small disclaimers. They appear in-stream and read exactly like another piece of user-generated content.
While some users resent this intrusion into their home streams, natives ads potentially enable brands to reach clients on their own turf and on their own terms. Behind it all is the concept of convergence–the idea that ads and content can be interchangeable. Companies, for instance, are already sending out Tweets to followers on their social media channels. Using analytical tools to identify which are most read, they can selectively amplify the best of the bunch as Promoted Tweets, turning content into ads and reaching an even larger audience.
International and niche social networks experience dramatic growth: Total social media users are forecast to grow by just 4.1 percent in North America in 2013. Compare that with growth rates of 21.1 percent in Asia-Pacific (including China, India, and Indonesia), 12.6 percent in Latin America, and 23.3 percent in the Middle East and Africa.
The major networks will continue to make impressive inroads internationally: Facebook users grew by 47 percent in Latin America alone last year. But localized social networks–especially those geared for mobile users–are also experiencing dramatic growth. China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo microblogging platform recently surpassed 400 million users (nearly doubling its user base in one year), while two-year-old competing upstart WeChat already has 200 million users.
Meanwhile, niche networks, which offer deeper, more focused functionalities overlooked by the bigger players, will continue to experience truly explosive growth both in North America and internationally. Riding the wave of its acquisition by Facebook, Instagram saw its share of social media traffic grow by 17,319 percent this year, while Pinterest grew by 5,124 percent.
What does this all mean for brands and businesses? To maximize reach, it’s critical to keep up with an expanding array of social networks both in North America and abroad. Anticipate increased demand in 2013 for social media management systems that streamline monitoring and posting across multiple networks.
Social media moves beyond the marketing department: In the year ahead, expect enterprises to embrace social media tools–including internal networks, real-time chats and wikis–for uses that go way beyond the familiar applications for marketing and community building. At stake is a potentially enormous boost to the bottom line: Last year, McKinsey published an eye-opening report that pegged the untapped business value of social technologies at $1.3 trillion–and most of that comes from improved office productivity.
We’re already seeing HR departments applying social media to streamline application processes, sales teams cultivating leads and monitoring the sales funnel via social channels, and operations and distributions teams tracking supply chains at a granular level. Deeper still, internal networking tools like HootSuite Conversations are enabling companies to free up expertise trapped in departmental silos. (Conversations is sold by my company.)
At the same time, the way social media is rolled out at large companies is fundamentally changing. Until now, adoption has been fueled from the bottom-up, by front-line social media and community managers. But increasingly CIOs, CEOs, and CMOs who have seen the business value of social media are taking the reins. As the C-suite formalizes top-down social media strategy, expect to see social media management systems become as commonplace as office productivity suites and customer relations management software.
Big data grows but gets more manageable: Social media has given companies access to unprecedented volumes of information about their clients and buying trends on an aggregate level. The challenge, which confronts everyone from data giants like Facebook to small businesses active on social media, is how to process all of this and turn it into actionable policy. Case in point: 93 percent of North American executives surveyed by Oracle believe they’re losing revenue by not leveraging available data.
“We need to build robust systems for analyzing the huge amounts of data flowing in from social media and how they then link to all the other touch points consumers have with the brand,” explains digital analyst Marita Scarfi.
The coming year will see the emergence of new software and tools to do just that. Using new-wave social media command centers capable of tracking multiple social stats in real-time, from tweets and Likes to customer sentiment, companies will be able to radically improve customer service and predict future buying patterns, not to mention streamline internal communication and increase productivity. This kind of social data is already being harnessed by Nestle to boost customer sentiment, GE to speed up repairs to the electrical grid, and Wall Street to forecast stock prices.
Social media education gets formalized: A recent Harvard Business review survey showed that only 12 percent of companies using social media feel they use it effectively. Given the expanded business applications of social media, maximizing impact increasingly requires specialized training. Just knowing how to send a Tweet or friend someone on Facebook is not enough. In 2013, expect to see more social media coursework at universities, as well as dedicated social media MBA programs, as schools rise to the challenge (Syracuse, NYU, Columbia, Harvard Business School, and dozens of other higher ed institutions are already leading the pack here).
At the same time, companies will begin to double down on social media education for their existing employees as the entire workforce gains an added level of social sophistication, similar to the Internet 1.0 skillset that was on-boarded a decade ago. Social media skills will join email as part of basic business literacy in the digital age. Perhaps most critical of all will be social media compliance training to ensure that workers in sensitive industries from finance to healthcare uphold regulatory standards while taking advantage of social media’s benefits.
This year has been widely regarded as the year social media made the jump from dorm room to boardroom. In 2013, expect to see companies who have taken the plunge begin to reap expanded returns from their social investments, with help from improved social technologies, innovative ad models, and an expanded user base around the globe.
Learn more about the future of social media by subscribing to the Fast Company newsletter.
–Ryan Holmes is CEO of Hootsuite.
[Image: Flickr user Len Burgess]
HR NEWS & TRENDS
Employee Resolutions for 2013: They Want a Raise – and Maybe, a New Job
by John Hollon on Nov 30, 2012, 10:20 AM | 0 Comments
When was the last time you actually kept a New Year’s resolution?
If you are anything like me, you probably go into the new year with all sorts of great intentions and plans for how you are going to change for the better. But life goes on, other things happen, and you find you’re lucky if you can even remember your New Year’s resolutions anytime after April 1.
That’s why this new survey from Glassdoor and conducted by Harris Interactive about employees work-related resolutions for 2013, although entertaining and fun, should be read with a bit of a skeptical eye.
The younger you are, the more you want a raise
According to Glassdoor, “One-third (32 percent) of employees said that a salary raise is their top work-related resolution for 2013, followed by looking for a new job (23 percent), improving their performance/rating by their supervisor (21 percent), attending work related training (16 percent), taking/using all their vacation days earned (13 percent), and socializing with work colleagues more (9 percent), among others.”
Then, there was this bit of additional detail: “Younger employees are more focused on securing a salary raise in 2013, as 40 percent of 18-34 year olds say a raise is their top work-related resolution, compared to 33 percent of 35-44 year olds, 20 percent of 45-54 year olds, and 27 percent of 55+ year olds. While most employees favor a salary raise in 2013, employees 45-54 years old say their top resolution for 2013 is looking for a new job (24 percent). Also, 2 percent of employees said their top work-related resolution in 2013 is to help get their boss/supervisor fired.”
Well, I fear for the 2 percent who want to help their boss/supervisor get fired, because that can be a pretty perilous business and more something you would see in Dilbert than actually happening in real life. On the rare occasions when I have seen somebody try this, it almost always ended with the employee, and not the boss, getting shown the door.
Here’s what Rusty Rueff, Glassdoor’s career and workplace expert who has led global HR departments at Electronic Arts and PepsiCo, had to say about the survey results:
As employment confidence gradually improves, it’s no surprise to see employees looking to wrest back control over their own destiny, which is why we see their focus on more money, a new job or a fresh commitment to their on-the-job performance. But good economy or tough economy, adequate and expected take home pay is always top of mind and employees are sending a clear message that they want this most – not only during this holiday season, but next year, too.”
What extra perks would employees prefer?
The Glassdoor survey also asked employees about what extra perks they would most want to be given during the holidays. Again, the list isn’t all that surprising, because money and time off (predictably) top the list above.
The only thing that jumped out at me was that “holiday party with open bar” made the list of something employees might want. Now, I like a good party as much as anyone, but who asks for that rather than a bonus, raise, or more time off? Glassdoor’s Rusty Rueff puts this into perspective when he says:
When it comes to holiday perks, be sure to communicate and draw a line of sight to what made the perk possible. For example, are we partying tonight because the company achieved its annual goals? Did a specific department surpass projections? It’s essential to explain to employees what made a perk possible so they understand their hard work is appreciated and recognized, as well as providing history and context if next year isn’t as good.”
Yes, it is important that employees know what behavior helped them to get rewarded, but isn’t that the basis of a good rewards and recognition system, anyway?
Glassdoor’s 2012 survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Glassdoor from November 8-12, 2012 among 2,059 adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,066 are employed full-time/part-time. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
New Year’s resolutions are fun to make and talk about, but unless you have super human willpower, you probably have a hard time keeping them just as I do. When I read this survey of employee wishes and resolutions, what jumps out at me is less about the specifics of what workers are thinking about and more on what direction their thoughts are heading.
In other words, if you look at this another way, this survey tells you again that employees are largely dissatisfied — with their jobs, their pay, and where they are in their working life. No wonder so many employee engagement surveys come back with such bad results.
But that’s just my take. Your view may be a little different.
So again, take this list from Glassdoor with a grain of salt, because like most resolutions, these ones will probably be long gone and forgotten by the time February 2013 rolls around.
John Hollon is Vice President for Editorial of TLNT.com, and the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and workforce.com. An award-winning journalist, he has written extensively about HR, talent management, and smart business and people practices. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/johnhollon
Tags: Change management, Compensation, Engagement, Generational issues, HR management, HR News, HR trends, paid time off, salary increaseShare on emailShare on linkedin|More Sharing ServicesMore