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Strategies for Dealing with Job Market Uncertainty

Dealing with Market Uncertainty

As individuals living through a time of job market uncertainty and change, we have many questions that come to mind. Will I get promoted? Will I have a job in six months? Is my company going to remain remote or go back to in-person work? Uncertainty in the workplace is one of the most common causes of stress especially during a pandemic.

This past year, employees have faced inflation, a tight labor market, increases in housing costs and continuous change in work models. The pressure to maintain employment or to move up in one’s career has caused a tremendous amount of job market uncertainty and anxiety.

When it comes to organizational change and uncertainty, we may not know the outcome, but we can control how we handle the stress that comes along with it.

Check out the top 5 ways to deal with uncertainty during a time of change:

  1. Face your fears: Think about your causes of concern. Eliminate irrational thoughts and follow the additional tips below.
  2. Acknowledge what you can’t control: You may not be able to control layoffs or going back to work in-person, but you can control your backup plan.
  3. Always have a “Plan B- What is your backup plan if you were to get laid off? Start applying to jobs and be proactive to keep your options open. Keep your resume and LinkedIn profile up to date. If you are anxious about a possible promotion, schedule a meeting with your employer. Also, start sourcing opportunities that could be in the direction you are seeking for the next step in your career.
  4. Reflect on Success- Think about the things you have accomplished. This will help you stay positive and remember that you have the tools to overcome obstacles.
  5. Incorporate techniques to “destress”- Meditation is a keyway to reboot and relax. Other ways to destress include joining employee meetup groups to speak about your concerns and receive feedback. Hearing feedback and the input from fellow industry professionals can help you see the possibility of positive change.

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The Importance of Maintaining an Updated Resume

Keeping your Resume up to date

Writing a resume can be easy to put off, especially for candidates who are satisfied with their current position. Keeping your Resume up to date can help keep track of growth, significant accomplishments, and development. It also allows candidates to explore new opportunities at any time.

We never know when opportunity will knock. It can come in many forms and from various channels. We could get a message on LinkedIn from a Recruiter. It can come from an old co-worker that feels you are perfect for a role at their new company. It might be a position you come across on LinkedIn or Indeed that just checks all of the boxes.

Another reason for keeping a Resume up to date is to be ready for layoffs especially during a time of economic hardship. Recently, companies such as Netflix, Coinbase, and Notarize have laid off a significant number of employees. Coinbase has “laid off 1,000 employees to cut expenses” while Notarize has “laid off 25% of its workforce.”  Having an updated resume will allow immediate career exploration and can minimize the panic of unemployment.

Check out these 5 easy tips below on how to remain vigilant in keeping your resume updated:

Have a notebook or document saved and continuously add the following information:

  1. Each month, keep track of new tasks and responsibilities
  2. Write down quarterly accomplishments, include key metrics
  3. Keep track of milestones, big or small
  4. Include the month and date of any promotions that are received
  5. Add new software’s and technical skills as knowledge is acquired

 

Following these tips will not only help you with keeping your resume updated but can also be used for your LinkedIn profile.

Please reach out to our team if you have any questions on how to stay vigilant with updating your resume!

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Understanding the Well-Being Movement

A major focus in the world today is well-being. We have seen many posts and articles that dive into physical, mental and emotional well-being. What we have also seen is a myriad of solutions to address the issues associated with these topics.

Let’s dissect a few of these.

Work from Home (WFH) – WFH has been a major topic of discussion since the pandemic first started in early 2020. At the time, roughly 10% of the workforce was remote, now we sit at ~40% of workers at home exclusively or part-time. Remote workers that were surveyed reported that they were 22% happier than workers who always work onsite. On the flipside those that WFH tend to work more hours which can contribute to burnout. Finding the right balance is key and a hybrid role may be the sweet spot for most people.

The 4 Day Work Week – At this time, it has not yet been broadly adopted and we certainly remain skeptical about this approach. We believe it’s only a band-aid for solving some of the workplace issues that adversely impact our well-being. According to 4-day week, a global a non-profit, 78% of employees with 4-day work weeks are happier and less stressed. The concern with this is that salaried employees may see no impact on stress, if needing to meet the same overall output.

Unlimited PTO – This is another measure that has not been widely adopted as of yet. We find this to be potentially harmful to well-being. The ambiguity here can create another cause of stress for employees. Not having structure can create concerns that an employee may be abusing a generous policy and therefore may take less time off. According to Fortune Magazine only 9% of employers offer this perk.  This policy sounds good in theory, but the results are mixed in practice. It is only as good as the company culture or the boss that’s administering it.

Employee Assistance Programs – These programs offer support to employees on substance abuse, mental health, legal troubles etc. Over the last 20 years we have seen a two-fold increase in employers providing this benefit to their employees. Looking at a SHRM article from late 2019 we see that under 10% of employees actually use these programs. The reason could be that many people don’t trust that their information will remain private or that these programs are ineffective.

What does this mean?

As we know, we are in the midst of a “Great Resignation”. There are several factors contributing to this including burn-out and a push for overall well-being. It is important to understand the shift that companies are taking to combat this and what the real and implied benefits are.

Our sentiment is that we will only see change to well-being when the output expected becomes more reasonable and companies resource their teams more appropriately.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of a Cover Letter

One of the most frequently asked questions we get is, “Do I need to have a Cover Letter?” Our answer is “If it’s a good one, yes.”. The Cover Letter’s purpose is to accompany your Resume. It gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your accomplishments and showcase your soft skills and passions. The Cover Letter format allows more flexibility and creativity then a Resume.

On the flipside, a Cover Letter that is rushed, contains errors or is disjointed can work against you. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages, can help you determine if it is necessary to include with your next job application.

Advantages of Cover Letters:

It can be an attention grabber. The Cover Letter will enhance your application package. It should entice the reader to pick up your Resume or reinforce their decision that you are a good fit. The information in your Resume and Cover Letter should complement each other. Use it to highlight your achievements.

You can showcase your personality. This is a place to show and create interest about yourself.  The goal of the Cover Letter is to make the person reading it want to meet you. Demonstrate your talents and skills in a way that shows your unique style and ideas.

It gives you a chance to show your interest in a position. It is important to pick some unique reason which attracted you to the specific role. You can give specific instances where past role gives you an advantage for the new position.

Disadvantages of Cover Letters:

It has the wrong focus. If it highlights unrelated skills to the position this can be a bad first impression. Make sure it emphasizes how the company would benefit from selecting you. Read the job description to assess skills needed for the role, while focusing on how the skills you possess align to them.

It takes time to customize. If you are using a generic Cover Letter this can be counterproductive by communicating that you aren’t putting forth the effort. Spend the time understanding each roles requirements and how to position your skills and experience.

Our conclusion is that it is best to incorporate a well written, thoughtful and customized Cover Letter. Having a template at the ready, makes it easier to modify, thus saving plenty of time.

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Best Tactics to ask for a Raise

The thought of asking for a raise is intimidating to most, but it does not have to be. Those of us that work for a company with a structured pay scale or annual performance evaluations linked to compensation reviews may feel reduced stress. If you are looking for an off cycle raise or for some reason don’t have this structure, asking for a raise might be the only way to get it. The process can be uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t be.

Before you have the conversation with the higher-ups, make sure to do your homework. The preparation you do before the conversation will be evident.

Below are ways you should prepare:

  1. Know why you want a raise. Ensure that you give reasons that are based on performance, merit, market conditions and cost of living (inflation as an example).
  2. Determine how much you are willing to accept, make sure to go in asking for more than that number as a starting point. Note that the average raise is about 3% internally.
  3. Timing is everything! It is best to ask for something when people are in a good mood or after you recently got praise or completed a tough project.
  4. Set the occasion by considering all variables and people needed in the discussion. Don’t have this conversation out of the blue, schedule a meeting in a location that is conducive to this kind of discussion.

Now that the time is set to speak with the powers at be, it is time for you to take action. Go into the meeting with all your ducks in a row.

Here is how to do it:

  1. List your accomplishments- This can be by showing the actions you have taken and results they yielded. It could be expanded responsibilities or the completion of a project successfully. A good strategy is to frame these successes in 6 months, the year and lifetime with company increments to demonstrate your long-term results.
  2. Know your worth- Compare your salary with industry averages. Have the data to back up your value. If you are currently at the higher end of the scale, a small raise would be more in line with the industry standards.
  3. Be confident- If you did all the preparation, go in knowing why you deserve that compensation increase.

 

Requesting a pay raise can be stressful and uncomfortable, but you have nothing to lose. If done tactfully, this discussion should not change your standing with your employer.

Good luck and make sure to get the compensation that you deserve.

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Strategies for Quantifying your Achievements

The strongest resumes are those that demonstrate the impact of a candidate’s achievements. When an employer reviews a resume that showcases metrics, they are noting specific results executed by the candidate. Often, we have many accomplishments throughout our careers that we may have difficulty recalling or quantifying.

The key to quantification is tracking and documenting our achievements on a regular basis. For example, if a sales Manager has a goal of selling $100K in Q1 but exceeds his or her sales goal by 20%, this is an achievement that can be included on a candidates resume as it presents specific metrics. Most importantly, it shows that the candidate exceeded their goal. If the Sales Manager tracks performance quarterly, it will be easy to include on his or her resume.

Showcasing metrics can also demonstrate to employers the type of outcomes you can achieve for their company. If your resume includes metrics that show you exceeded goals year over year, this is an indicator of your future job performance.

Strategies for quantifying your achievements:

Keep track of your goals on a quarterly basis: At the beginning of each quarter, write down 3 goals that you set out to achieve. At the end of the quarter, note your progress by including metrics. For example: If a Social Media Manager wants to engage 1,000 new followers by the end of Q3, the employee would note how many followers were gained at the end of the quarter.

Assess percentage increases: Analyze the value of the achievement. If an employee exceeds their goal by 1% in Q1 versus 10% in Q3, include the metric that would make you a key competitor amongst your peers.

Highlight the goals you exceeded and assess their value: If you have several achievements that include metrics, select the achievements that are related to the job you are targeting.

Examples of achievements you can quantify:

  1. Cost savings initiatives
  2. Social media engagement (followers, likes)
  3. Budgeting (Range of budgets you have worked with)
  4. Sales Goals
  5. Financial Analysis
  6. Staffing or quantity of employees hired
  7. Project management deadlines or number of projects you work on
  8. Time Savings or Increased Output

 

In many cases it is not clear what the metrics are associated with your work. That is where you can use the above list to get creative. Quantifying your achievements and including metrics on your resume is another way to market yourself in the industry.

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Find Fulfillment in Your Career

What contributes to finding fulfillment in your career?

Finding fulfillment in life is the ultimate goal. As adults, most of us spend the majority of our time working, so it makes sense that one would want to get fulfillment from their job. Most of us strive to have careers that bring financial security and personal engagement. When one finds value in their career it makes the workplace a more enjoyable place to be.

Below are 3 examples where fulfillment can be found from a job.

Mission– Decide what you want to stand for and keep that in mind when conducting business. By putting your personal mission at the forefront of your mind, you will act in accordance with who you are and what you want in your profession. This will keep your personal integrity intact and in turn help you feel fulfilled by not compromising your values. When you have a clearer understanding of your values, it makes it easy to see if the organization shares them.

Learning– Use your job to level up. Find the aspects of your profession that challenge you and lean into them. This is where you will grow and learn. When you are exposed to challenges, figure out a solution to overcome it to gain that new skill. This feeling of accomplishment is a key to finding fulfillment. It is good practice to reflect on whether or not your organization is providing you with these development opportunities.

Connecting– Building positive relationships at work is also a measure correlated with finding fulfillment. By being comfortable with the people you work with, you are more likely to approach these colleagues to collaborate, ask questions or as a knowledge resource. This might look like taking on a mentee (passing on your knowledge), making friends with coworkers (especially if you share interests) and building your network (could help you land your next position or a promotion).

Leverage these three examples to find fulfillment at work and use them in your current role. If the position you have is not checking all of these boxes, this role may not be for you long term. These key aspects will help you identify the right fit for you and will guide you in identifying your dream position.

Reach out to us if you need guidance on your journey.

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It’s a Job Seekers Market: Build Your Career Strategy

It’s a candidate’s market: What does it mean and how to take advantage.

 

The labor market has gone through a major transition since the start of 2020. Since the third quarter of 2021, we have entered a candidate driven market. What does this term mean? A candidate driven job market is one in which the job seekers have the upper hand and the number of open positions are outweighing the number of job seekers. It is an ideal time to work on your career strategy.

In a candidate favoring market the individual has greater bargaining power.  With talent being in high demand, it allows the job seekers to be less flexible in terms of salary, work-life-balance and benefits.

This shift is giving candidates an advantage to:

  • Highlight your transferable skills to make the change to a different career.
  • Negotiate salary, with in many cases having multiple competing offers in hand.
  • Secure a role that is the at the next level. Many employees that previously found it difficult to secure that higher title may no longer face that barrier.
  • Working from home has diminished the role that geography plays in our search. This allows for candidates to source jobs that they would have not had previous access to.

 

Now with less bargaining chips, companies are dealing with this power shift by changing the ways in which they attract talent. The hiring process is being streamlined with  virtual interviewing and sped up in fear the talent will jump ship for another offer. All indicators show that securing a new role will be more lucrative and that internal mobility  will also be on the rise.

In this candidate-driven market, job seekers should take advantage of the position they are in. Apply, negotiate and make the move you have been working towards. Five Star Resume can assist by getting your documents, career strategy and tools in tip top shape.

Let us help you take your career to the next level.

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New Year: Take Your Career to the Next Level

Let’s ring in the New Year and take a moment to assess our career! Each year, we have resolutions that we make or break. With 2022 approaching, let’s review where we are now and what’s next.

Check out these 5 resolutions below that you won’t want to break:

  • Self-reflect- Think about where you are now and where you want to be. Are you seeking a promotion, career change, or interested in refreshing your skills? Make a list of your accomplishments and assess the next steps.

 

  • Create a timeline for success- Create a list of your actions and define designated due dates on your calendar. This will help you stay accountable throughout the year. Check out apps such as Vervo and Strides to help keep you on track!

 

  • Network- Attending virtual or live career fairs is a keyway to expand your contact list of professionals who you can collaborate with. LinkedIn, Meetup, and social media groups are also ways to meet professionals with common goals. Expanding your network can also keep you abreast of opportunities that may interest you.

 

  • Take a class- Aim to sharpen your skills and learn something new. Is there a technology or software you want to become proficient in? Or perhaps you need to update a license or certification. Taking a class will help you to stay competitive in the industry.

 

  • Update your Resume, LinkedIn & Cover Letter-Finally, add your goals, accomplishments, and skills to your professional documents. This will showcase your personal brand and highlight key achievements from the previous year. Get ready to market yourself or go after that promotion. You deserve it!

 

If you need help with developing your Career Plan, building your Resume, Coaching or in any other area, let the Five Star team help. Our experience working directly in HR and talent selection across major organizations can be a valuable asset.

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Skill Series: The Importance of Adaptability

Are you flexible? Willing to learn? Accepting of change? Eager to try new things? Great news, if you answered yes to these questions, you most likely are adaptable. Adaptability, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is the ability to change or be changed to fit or work better in some situation or for some purpose. Being adaptable is one of the most desirable leadership skills.

Why is it important to be adaptable?

 

The ability to handle changes and setbacks while maintaining your composure is a soft skill that can benefit you in every facet of life, especially in the workplace. Adaptability shows your ability to be resourceful, think critically, prioritize tasks and step up as a leader.

Adaptability is especially important in the post COVID-19 world. With today’s uncertainty and the many changes in our daily lives, adaptability is given a boost in importance. By demonstrating adaptability, you can make seamless transitions, show alternative solutions, learn new skills easily, while remaining positive.

In my personal life, by living and working on the road while traveling cross country, this is the most critical skill I had developed. Things more often than not go differently than planned. The ability to “roll with the punches” as well as maintain goals and composure while the world around you is constantly changing is a skill that I value above all others.

By being adaptable you get the task at hand done, no matter the situation. Instead of squandering away your energy trying to change your circumstance, you will change yourself, making you able thrive in any situation.

As always it is important that we assess ourselves and find opportunities to develop these skills. If you need help building this or any other skill, reach out to us.

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