How to Job Search Like a Presidential Candidate

jobsearch2016Election season is over and we can all breathe a sigh of relief. Whether you loved or loathed the presidential candidates it’s fair to say they both gave their best efforts over the last 20 months. And while just one candidate gets to walk away victorious, a lot can be learned from the process.

Let’s take the candidates’ campaigns, for example. Both fought long and hard for what they believed in, never losing faith along the way. This is the kind of mindset needed for a successful job search as well.

Winning over America’s vote may be slightly more challenging than say, winning over a hiring manager but many of the same principles apply. Let’s review them shall we?

Do Your Homework

Whether you’re thinking about applying for a job or you’re about to enter the interview chair, you have to be “in the know.” No one wants to elect an uniformed president just as no one wants to hire a clueless job candidate. It’s important that you’re familiar with the company and up to speed on the trends and best practices that will help you succeed in the job.

Be Prepared…But Not Scripted

This is especially important during the interview. It’s never a good idea to shoot off the cuff without fully knowing the point you’re trying to make. As Donald Trump learned during the debates, you’re likely to get a better response if you have a well-thought-out plan. But, it’s also smart not to sound scripted. Hillary Clinton was heavily criticized on her robotic stature throughout the debates which kept her from connecting with her audience. While practicing your interview points will help calm your nerves, never sound canned.

Highlight Your Strengths

When campaigning for presidency, candidates must always explain why they’re the best person for the job. The same goes for you. Whether it’s on your resume or during an interview, you should always lead with your strengths. But pointing out your skills and accomplishments isn’t enough. You’re competing for a job after all. If you can find an angle that highlights how your uniqueness makes you the best candidate for the role, you’re likely to win the job.

Use the Law of Large Numbers

It’s common knowledge that candidates hot on the campaign trail have to make as much contact with voters as humanly possible. The more hands they shake, the better their chances are at winning. Use the law of large numbers when applying to jobs. Yes it’s redundant. Yes it’s exhausting. And yes, it’s not for the faint of heart.

Be Resilient

If either one of the candidates gave up whenever they hit a bump in the road the election would have been forfeited a long time ago. Any good job worth having is worth working for. Realize that you may put a ton of time and effort in to applying for a job only to never hear a peep. You may also get as far as the fourth and final interview and then lose the job to someone else. If you begin your job search knowing there will be some rejection you can prepare yourself for the long and arduous road. By staying steadfast and positive , you will catch your break. It just takes time.

Be Social

Social Media has never been as prominent in a presidential race as it was this year. Trump was a clear winner when it came to having a social media presence but Clinton wasn’t too far behind. There are many advantages to using social media in your job search.

For example, TechCrunch recently reported that employers will soon begin promoting their jobs on Facebook. You can easily market yourself as employable by updating your profile with your past and present work experience. Just be aware of the shortfalls of the platforms and keep your posts clean.

Be Relevant

Living in the New Media age allows for us to receive and release information in real time. Just as social media has become an integral part of a presidential campaign, you should adopt all modern forms of the job search. While it’s likely you’re already using your phone to look for jobs, take it up a few notches.

There are plenty of mobile job search apps that let you apply to jobs directly from your phone. Increase your chances of standing out and speed up the application process by having a mobile optimized resume. Also take the time to set up a professional profile on LinkedIn. Many employers are now requesting this in the application process.

Build a Strong Network

Networking is one of the most discussed topics when it comes to finding a new job and for good reason. A strong network or support group can open the door for new opportunities, provide references and give guidance and advice. In Trump’s acceptance speech he humbly gave credit to his family and GOP allies that helped him get the win. By nurturing your network, you will find yourself with a group of individuals who help you succeed.

Be Honest

There’s no doubt that Hillary Clinton’s trustworthiness was an issue for her while campaigning. Trump too had his fair share of falsehoods. If you’re even considering lying on your resume to get a job just don’t do it. The stakes are high enough when you’re vying for a new position. Don’t risk burning bridges by forging your qualifications.

Be Yourself

If there’s anything to take away from this election process and the new President-Elect it’s that you don’t have to have the most experience. You don’t have to be the most articulate. But if you put in the work, surround yourself with smart and supportive people and above all, be uniquely you, you can accomplish anything.

 

 

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Job Tips & News – Your Weekly Roundup

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Your Weekly Job Tips & News Roundup is Here

This week I decided to do things a bit differently.  It’s a “shake-up” of sorts in an effort to provide a handful of highlights and happenings in the employment and job market world. So without further ado, here are the selections for this week’s top tips and news:

5 Choices Every Job Seeker Makes

Job hunting today has changed. It’s time to discard preconceived ideas when you are deciding how to go about five aspects of your job search.

How you job hunt says a good deal about your character, inquisitiveness and personality. And, you’ll get different results when you stay up to date and carefully position yourself among your competitors. Are you thoughtful and proactive, or are you lazy and feel entitled? Do you want to be seen as a go-getter, or just one more person hoping to gain some consideration?

Here are five choices you make when applying to jobs, sometimes without even realizing that you are making them.

Buckshot applying to everything vs. a focused approach. Do you send your resume far and wide, just hoping that someone will respond? Or, do you send out just a relatively few well-researched and crafted applications?

Resume readers can spot a mass-mailed plea for consideration a mile away, and tend to treat these applicants the same way as you treat the never-ending junk mail that fills your mailbox. Even if you are well-qualified, this approach smacks of laziness. Once in a while it works, but most of the time you are wasting your time with this approach.

Don’t measure your job hunt by how many applications you submit, but rather by the quality of case you make for a position that is well-suited to your background, skills, achievements and capacity for future career growth.

When you take the time to do research on every employer you are serious about, and write a killer cover letter that marries the company’s needs to your capacities and achievements, you’ll turbocharge your chances for success!

Answering ads vs. using ads as primary research. The obvious strategy is to respond to ads on job boards, company sites and places like Indeed by just submitting your resume online. But then you enter the black hole of applicant tracking systems. The odds always favor the employer, making this a poor strategy without good results the vast majority of the time.

Instead, get smart and use these job ads as primary source information about where the jobs are. Then, find or cultivate contacts at the hiring companies and network your way into an interview.

Relying on your responsibilities vs. showing your stuff. Somehow you probably got it in your head that your resume is supposed to describe all of your responsibilities in your current and former positions. Statements that begin with “Responsible for” don’t do anything to show how you’ve handled your tasks.

Instead, stand out from the crowd by calling attention to the accomplishments you’ve attained. How has your company benefited, and what happened because you exercised your responsibilities in an exemplary way? Resumes that show these things tend to get the attention of hiring authorities!

Regurgitating your story vs. actively listening to an employer’s pain points. Often, job hunters feel that if they could only get someone to hear their story, they would get hired. And the stories tend to drone on, and on, and on. When you are networking, and especially when you are interviewing, it’s important to speak less and let the other person do more talking.

Remember to only share the points that will be salient for your listener, and keep your narratives short. The more you listen, the more you’ll learn what is important to the employer, and then you’ll be able to draw out from your arsenal of stories and achievements the things that will be most relevant to sate his or her curiosity and advance your chances of favorable consideration.

Telling what you need vs. showing what you are worth. Of course you know your monthly expenses and understand how much money you need to survive, and you should strive to gain an income equal or greater than that amount. But this is not of concern to an employer, nor should it be.

It is important to understand your own value in the current marketplace. You can learn a great deal about that by consulting sites like Salary.com, SalaryExpert, Glassdoor and others. Then, talk about your salary expectations from the perspective of what’s fair, given objective criteria rather than just pulling random (or not so random) numbers out of the air.

Often, employers will look to give you the average salary to start out with, but this is the time when you can politely ask, “If you think I have great value for your team and won’t just be an average employee, why are you not reflecting that based on the salary scales for this role or industry?”

And then, just listen.

There may be a good and valid reason for an average offer, or you might just have made your case for a better-than-average rate of compensation.

Happy hunting!

This article first appeared on U.S. News & World Report

 

5 Parental Leave Trends You Need to Know

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You already know about the so-called “arms race” in which companies are upping the ante on parental leave plans and other family-friendly benefits in an effort to recruit and retain today’s top talent. And you’ve seen the headlines – hardly a week goes by, it seems, without another company announcing an expanded maternity or paternity leave plan.

With so much noise it can be hard to keep track of the trends. With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the latest parental leave trends that you need to know about.

Crowdfunding maternity leave is a thing now

File this under “It has to be 2016 to be believed.” Publications from BuzzFeed to Scary Mommy to the Washington Post are reporting on a slightly depressing trend spreading in which moms are crowdfunding in order to have some financial security after giving birth. You know, because the United States doesn’t have a policy mandating paid leave for new moms after the birth of a child and only 12% of private sector employees have access to any kind of paid parental leave.

According to the Washington Post article, a GoFundMe search of “maternity leave” turns up about 1,500 results. The “TODAY” show reported there are about 6,000 campaigns with “maternity leave” or “child care.” Sounds crazy, but is it really? Almost a quarter of new moms return to work within two weeks of giving birth – largely due to financial pressures. And we know child care is the largest household expense for American families. It’s common to see stories of support pouring in for families who use crowdfunding sites to cover bills after a hospital stay or unexpected event. Given the state of parental leave in the United States, is crowdfunding maternity leave really all that different?

More dads want to take their leave

We’ve called it “The Zuckerberg Effect.” But really it’s another sign of the changing times. Modern dads want to – and, often, need to – be more involved in caregiving than past generations. And that starts with taking paternity leave. So it’s not surprising that 89% of fathers say it’s important for a company to offer paternity leave.

Working is reality for today’s parents. More than 90% of dads and more than 70% of moms work outside the home. Research has shown that when new fathers take paternity leave, there are long-term positive effects on his child and his partner. The trouble is that prevailing corporate culture has not yet caught up to these changes. Even as more dads want to take their leave, many are afraid to take time off out of fear of appearing less committed to their jobs and hurting their careers. You can read Care@Work VP and GM Michael Marty’s take on this type of “dad-shaming” on Fortune.

Companies with gender-neutral leave policies

Earlier this year, Etsy got a whole lotta love here and across the internets for unveiling an upgraded 26-week parental leave policy that was flexible, gender-neutral and lauded as “basically perfect.” Before Etsy, Netflix rolled out an “unlimited” maternity and paternity leave policy for new parents. In April, Twitter announced it was increasing its parental leave policy to 20 weeks of paid leave for all new parents.

Momentum building?

US and Papua New Guinea – we share the dubious distinction of being the only nations without a federal policy providing paid leave for new moms after the birth of a child. More than 70 countries also mandate paid leave for new dads. Not a great look for a global economic leader. The good news is there’s momentum building in support of paid leave legislation, like the FAMILY Act, for example. New York recently became the fourth state to mandate paid family leave, following California, Rhode Island and New Jersey. (Washington state passed one, too, but hasn’t done anything with it.) Many cities – from Austin to Boston to Washington, DC – have also passed paid leave policies, and San Francisco recently one-upped the state mandate and passed a law requiring employers to provide fully-paid parental leave.

Placing a premium on post-leave support

It’s true that the lack of a national parental leave policy for new moms (and dads) leads to a focus on employers who offer generous maternity leave and paternity leave programs. But we’re beginning to see leading companies invest in supports for working parents once they return to work. The “flying nannies” of Wall Street are an extreme example, but hundreds of great places to work also provide employee benefits like backup care, child care resource and referral and flexible work arrangements that have less flash but more substance.

Why are these types of family care benefits so important? Let’s take a quick look at some staggering statistics:

  • 70% of parents said the cost of child care has influenced their career decisions, according to this Cost of Care survey
  • 90% of employees have left work, and 30% cut back by more than 6 hours per week, due to family responsibilities, according to care@work’s Better Benefits survey.
  • 89% of working parents want family care benefits, but 81% say their employers don’t offer any.
  • 58% of working millennial moms told Pew Research being a working mom makes it harder to get ahead at work

Parental leave is the poster child of family-friendly workplaces, but it’s only one element of a comprehensive solution. When faced with the reality that in most modern families all parents work, more and more employers are realizing that investing in family-care benefits is a competitive advantage.

This article first appeared on the Care@Work blog

 

A Story from FBI Director James Comey’s time at Bridgewater perfectly Illustrates the hedge fund’s emphasis on ‘radical transparency’

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FBI Director James Comey told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Thursday, on the subject of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information, that he was “a big fan of transparency.”

When he was an executive at Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, from 2010 to 2013, he was enmeshed in a culture of “radical transparency” unlike that of any organization of its size.

In a new Politico article by Garrett M. Graff, Comey offers insight into his time at Ray Dalio’s hedge fund, including a strange scenario where a 25-year-old employee confronted him after a meeting. Graff writes:

“It was just weeks after he joined Bridgewater — whose corporate culture of high-achieving intellectuals resembles a moneyed management cult that shares more in common with the 1970s personal-improvement fad est than it does with a typical Wall Street firm — that Comey was cornered by a similarly new 25-year-old employee. The junior associate interrogated the former Justice Department official on a seemingly illogical stance that Comey had taken in an earlier meeting. ‘My initial reaction was “What? You, kid, are asking me that question?” … I was deputy attorney general of the United States; I was general counsel of a huge, huge company. No 25-year-old is going to ask me about my logic,’ he recalled. ‘Then I realized “I’m at Bridgewater.”‘”

Dalio founded Bridgewater from his apartment in 1975 but didn’t begin developing his intense management culture until the mid-1990s, he told Business Insider in March. He found that codifying his investment principles brought him success, and so he should do the same with the way he wanted his company run. It resulted in “Principles,” a manual of 210 lessons that all Bridgewater employees must learn.

Comey told Politico it took him three months to adjust to Bridgewater, at which point he appreciated the hardline culture. In a video testimonial on Bridgewater’s website, Comey said, “You combine that intelligence, the depth and the almost 360 [degree] vector of the questioning, there is no more demanding, probing, questioning environment in the world than Bridgewater.”

This article first appeared on Business Insider