Tag Archives: careers

When Should You Know What You Want To Be?

Growing up, did you imagine yourself as a professional baseball player or firefighter?  Maybe you wanted to be a ballerina, movie star or princess.  As children, we all have dreams and fantasies of what we’ll be like as adults.  As we approach our teen years, we tend to start giving it more thought and consider being doctors, veterinarians, or other jobs we hear about.

When did you know what you wanted to be?

I heard a 23 year old young lady tell the story of how she went off to college completely unsure of what she wanted to do.  She couldn’t decide.  Now, at 23, she had dropped out to figure it out.  She was frustrated it didn’t just come to her.

Some people have a calling, some of us are told what our parents think we should become, and some just have to figure it out.  I am quite certain I had no idea what human resources was as I was growing up so it would not have been a career to consider.  It wasn’t until half way through college that I figured it out.

On the flip side

The other side of the coin is that maybe it’s better to never get settled into something to the point you get stagnant.  In the HR industry, there are so many options of how to use your skills that you can start out working in recruiting, move to compensation analysis, choose another job in benefits and wind up leading HR for a company.

So, how would you advise that 23 year old?  I’d tell her to:

  • Ask herself what she really loves doing, not for money.  Then, try to find a job that incorporates that, or skills like that, into a job.
  • Finish her education.  If nothing else, make sure to get a good general education.  It’s not so much about learning the subjects, it’s learning how to think and process information.  It’s learning how to organize and plan.  All good skills for many careers.
  • Job Shadow.  When in doubt, find several jobs that seem interesting and ask to shadow someone who does that job.

What advice would you give?  Share in the comments….

Using Social Media: Create A LinkedIn Alumni Group

Today we’re back to tackling another of the ideas from 10 Ways To Build Social Media Into Your HR Practice.  So far, we’ve covered How To Tweet Your Company’s Jobs and Creating Podcasts For Your Company.  

One of the most accepted social platforms from a business standpoint is LinkedIn.  If you’re new to social or not familiar with LinkedIn, here are a few facts from the site:

  • The site officially launched on May 5, 2003. At the end of the first month in operation, LinkedIn had a total of 4,500 members in the network.
  • As of March 31, 2012, LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with 161 million members in over 200 countries and territories.
  • As of March 31, 2012 (the end of the first quarter), professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at a rate of approximately two new members per second.
  • The company is publicly held and has a diversified business model with revenues coming from hiring solutions, marketing solutions and premium subscriptions.

Having a tool that has free and low-cost options for businesses that also has the reach of LinkedIn makes it a platform that your HR team should seriously consider using.  Many people I talk to think LinkedIn is primarily for job seekers or recruiters but there are so many other ways to use the site.  I use it to search for information and articles, I do research on companies, I find information about people I am networking with and I also use the Groups feature to stay in close contact with other professionals with similar interests.  One of these interests is staying in contact with colleagues from my former employers.  This brings me to today’s tip:

Create a LinkedIn Alumni group

 A LinkedIn alumni group is a way to drive interaction.  As HR professionals we know that boomerang employees are on the rise because as people leave organizations they find that they may miss the culture of the organization they left and decide to return in just a few short years.  Having an Alumni group where they can come back regularly and receive company news updates, hear about new client projects, connect with their former colleagues, see your job openings and be given access to special perks and discounts your company may offer are just a few ways to keep them connected.  They can also easily engage in conversation on the alumni group site.

How To Create An Alumni Group on LinkedIn

  • First, watch the video on LinkedIn to learn how to Start a Conversation In A LinkedIn Group.
  • From the LinkedIn home page, click the Groups tab
  • Click Create a Group
  • Fill in all information about the company including a logo, link to the website, information about your company
  • Who will be allowed to access the group

Be sure to link the group to the company Twitter account as well.  Now you’re ready to get started sharing information.  You may be the person responsible for maintaining the alumni group or you may assign it to someone on your team.  Either way, make sure that you encourage and ALL members of your team as well as current employees to participate in the discussions on the alumni group.

The last, and most important piece of advice is to invite employees who are leaving your organizaiton to join the group.  This will reinforce that leaving a company does not have to be a bad experience.  You send an important message that they are part of the culture and will remain a welcome part of the company.  You never know when they will return, when they will steer future business your way or will refer friends to you.

Recruiting Tactics: Would You Move For A Better Job?

(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is brought to you by Allied Van Lines, proud sponsor of the “2012 Workforce Mobility Survey”, designed to capture the voice of HR on topics related to workforce mobility. Allied has more than 75 years of experience in corporate, household and international relocation.)

What would it take for you to move in order to accept a new job?  Have you ever relocated in order to take a new job?

As an HR executive, I have had the good fortune to live in a city that afforded me opportunities to progress in my career without having to relocate my family.   There was a time, years ago, that I was offered the opportunity to relocate to the west coast.  The package was not too bad and the pay would have been good for the role in that market, but no one ever mentioned that I was a mother with young children.  Children that were nearing school-age.  For me, that was the only factor that kept me from making that move.

According to the 2012 Workforce Mobility Survey, “Two factors are most likely to increase a candidate’s willingness to relocate- higher salary (reported by 82% of HR professionals) and career advancement (reported by 79%).  Three factors are most likely to limit or restrict willingness to relocate:  spousal employment situation (80%), children’s plans/ schools (72%), and selling a home/ mortgage (69%).  (Chart 5)

Last week, following the release of the research, Kris Dunn shared his thoughts in How To Tell Whether Your Relocation Package or Your Closing Skills Suck.  It made me think back to the time when I did not make the move and why I chose not to move.  It was a combination of the HR pro not closing the deal and some of the missing pieces around how things would be handled with my family.

  • Would my husband leave his position he had held for his entire career?
  • How would we find him a new job that he would love?
  • Where would my children go to school and how would I find the perfect environment for them?
  • How would I find good quality child care, pediatricians, and a church?

HR professionals need to know that it is questions like these are running through your candidate’s head and that may prevent them from taking your job offer. In order to create a relocation package that sets your company apart, one of the key factors is considering these types of questions and providing the support the candidate needs.

Stand out from the crowd

  • Since only 2% of companies help with spousal employment, you can make your relocation package unique by offering unemployment assistance or job serach assistance for the candidate’s spouse or significant other.
  • While 16% of companies are offering to assume a loss for a recruit’s underwater mortgage, you can boost your chance of landing a candidate for a hard to fill position if you take the step of offering that type of assistance.
  • If only 39% of companies are offering information about the local community and schools, you can provide a packet of information or links to sites that support various communities in your area that a candidate would be interested in.  For families, focus on the school district and any extra-curricular activities available.  For families or singles who like to participate in activities like running, working out, etc., include community information on parks and trails they would find appealing.


Are you ready to make the difference to your organization’s ability to both attract and close the deal with your top candidates?  Start today.  To learn more, continue to check in to the Allied HR/IQ website for more results from the 2012 Workforce Mobility Survey.

 

Using Social Media: How To Tweet Your Company’s Jobs

Earlier this week, I wrote 10 Easy Ways to Build Social Media Into Your HR Practice.  Today I’m sharing specifics on each of the ideas I suggested.  These are written with beginners in mind.

My first suggestion is to tweet your jobs.  It’s becoming common for companies today to have a company Twitter account.  Make sure that at a minimum, your recruiters are sharing their job openings on Twitter. But Twitter is not just about posting jobs like a job board.   Recruiters and HR pros should also tweet reasons candidates would want to work at your company, share awards or recognition the company has received and in general, any positive messages about the organization.

If you’re not on Twitter:

  • Go to http://Twitter.com and open an account.  It’s easy to get started and Twitter now has easy steps to walk you through the process of creating your profile and following a few people.
  • Once signed up for Twitter, go to the search box and type in words related to your business or industry.  It will bring up people related to that industry.  Start    following people.  The only way to begin getting people to follow you (which you’ll need later) is by following them.
  • Take an online Twitter tutorial to gain understanding of how to begin to use the tool.  Twitter provides a good tutorial and you can also search for videos on YouTube that give good demonstration on how to use Twitter.

 If you have a Twitter account for your company or your recruiting team:

  •  Compose the tweet.  Now that you are using Twitter, compose a tweet that suscinctly describes keywords about the job.  Be sure to include a shortened link to the job on your career website.  An example would be “Charlotte manufacturer hiring Director of IT. Relo available. http://ht.ly/aEbSs #Charlotte #IT #Jobs“.  You can see that it describes the location, type of company, role and gives a bit of information on relocation.  It includes a shortened version of the link and a few hashtags to help the tweet reach more people.
  • Use hashtags.  In the example above, you can see I included three word “tags”  that will help the job show up in searches on Twitter.  Since it is located in Charlotte, I chose that as a search I would want the tweet to appear.  I also chose IT and jobs since there are people who run searches looking for IT jobs.    For more information on what a hashtag is and how to use it, click here.
Remember, using Twitter is not just about pushing information out. It’s about engaging in conversation with people, in this case, potential candidates.  Be sure to tweet out information about your company so that people are more likely to ask questions about the company and more likely to re-tweet and share your job postings!
Happy Tweeting!


How To Choose A New Career

Are you happy with your career?  Are you working or have you been laid off?

I don’t know if it is the down-turn in the economy or the fact that many baby boomers are not retiring as early as they planned, but I hear from more and more people who are examining their career future.  I’ve heard from those that wonder if they should stay in their current position or current company.  I hear from those who have been part of a recent layoff and are now deciding whether to stick with their career choice or try something new.  I also hear from people who were ready to retire but are rethinking that decision and wondering how to proceed.  And of course, the recent college graduates who are finding it difficult to find work in the major they chose.  They too are examining career options for the future.

The best way to see where you’re going is to look back where you’ve been.  I know I personally run at 100 m.p.h. most of the time and it is rare that I slow down and appreciate where I’ve been and how far I’ve come.

Think back to when you first chose your career.  How did you decide what you wanted to do with your life?  Many people chose something they could be passionate about.  Even though it’s just a job, a means to an end, it’s was much more meaningful if you chose a career you were excited about.  As you look to the future, you should examine the steps you walked and what you learned so that you can use that knowledge to guide you to a new career.

  • Roles- What were the first roles you had in your career? Whether you were an intern, an apprentice, a generalist, a support staff, etc. the lessons learned during the early days of your career were very valuable.  It taught you how to interact with others.  It taught you about managing up.  About learning what the expectations were and how to exceed them.  It taught you about getting along with colleagues and how to fit in to the culture.  You were most likely a “do’er” during this time.  Absorbing everything new like a sponge.  As you explore career options, try to capture the enthusiasm of your youth when learning about the new career.  Be willing to be a “do’er” again.  Ask as many questions as you can.
  • Key influencers- Who were the people you looked up to when you first chose your career path? Were they instructors?  Neighbors?  Maybe a family member.  Bottom line is you found people you respected and decided you wanted to emulate them.  What steps did they take to pursue that particular career?  What special skills or education were needed to get the job?  Look around.  Who can help and influence you in your new career?  Use social media to meet professionals in your new field or industry.  Reach out.  Be open.  Learn from the “experts”.
  • Take aways- So what does this mean to you now? Is there a career you’ve always dreamed of having?  What are the steps you will need to take to embark on that career?  Is it an achievable goal?  Will you need more education?  A certification?  Will you need experience?

Deciding to journey down a new career path is a daunting decision; however, it can be even more rewarding than can be imagined. Have you ever started a new career path?  What steps did you take that helped you select that career and get acclimated?  Share with us in the comments.

Work/Life Unity: Leader’s Series

worklifebalanceI have a confession, I am a determined achiever.   Always have been.  I have been working and earning my own money since I started babysitting at age eleven.  In high school, I managed schoolwork, sports activities, and a job.  In college, I managed to earn several degrees while working and throwing in a little fun.  And now, I fit in mothering, work, professional development, blogging/social media, and volunteering.  I am someone who thrives on activity.  This is who I am- the whole me.  That is why my focus is on work/life unity.

Unity, or “wholeness”, takes into consideration that I am made up of all these roles.  How much time I spend on each one in a given day varies from day to day, and that is what works for me.  So, how have I made it work?  Three words:  flexibility, sacrifice, and decisiveness.

  • Flexibility- Being able to use my time to focus on what needs the most attention at the time.
  • Sacrifice- Sometimes taking something I want to do and having to say ‘no’ because something else is more pressing at the time.
  • Decisiveness- Gathering facts and just making a decision.  Sometimes it’s risky, but it beats feeling guilty about not knowing what to do next and where to invest the time I have available.

Like Eric, I make no apologies and have no regrets.  The reason I say that is that throughout most of my career, I have had flexibility.  Flexibility is the critical ingredient that makes my recipe of life work.  For the first four years of my children’s lives, I worked a flexible schedule.  This was in an environment that valued the end result of my work product more than the specific hours of the day I was visible.

Over those four years, my schedule changed quite a bit.  I worked as little as 70% when the twins were first born and eventually back up to full-time.  I also had the flexibility of not only a reduced schedule, but the ability to work from home on a regular basis.  Working for an employer who celebrated flexibility gave me the ability to enroll the children in gymnastics during lunch time every Wednesday.  What a nice break to the middle of my week to step away from work for two hours to do something fun and hands on with the kids.

In addition, I had a nanny at home with me on my days “working from home” to watch the children so I could actually get work done.  This gave me the unique opportunity to take ‘hug and kiss breaks’, eat lunch with my kids, and throw in the occasional load of laundry.  It was wonderful.  The result was I was not missing much in terms of their “firsts” so I was being a good mom, I was able to keep small household chores from piling up, and I was a better, more dedicated, productive employee.  I did not have guilt.

Not every job is designed to be done from home though, and there can also be limitations on an individuals ability to concentrate and achieve from home.  A few critical factors to working from home:

  • Have a designated office or work area
  • Avoid distractions (like television)
  • If you have children at home, arrange for someone to watch them while you are working
  • Set goals for yourself throughout the day
  • Make sure to take breaks (it is so easy to forget to eat lunch or take a break when you work from home)

But what if you do not have flexibility?

It’s all about choices.

This is where the sacrifice and decisiveness really become important. I’ve worked with less flexibility and I understand the challenges employees face when being able to fit it all in is not possible.  It is not a good feeling.  I’m not the mom who can break away and be a room mother for my kids’ class, I don’t get to go on field trips with them, and I often pick them up after dark, so our outside playtime is limited.  Mothering is not something that should be ‘outsourced’, so I struggle with it now.  But, there are still ways to make it all work.  What can you do to free up time to parent (or do what is personally important to you)?

  • Pay someone to clean your house or run errands
  • Hire someone to mow your lawn and do landscaping
  • Check with your grocery store to see if they offer on-line shopping with grocery delivery
  • Hire someone who specializes in organizing to help assess your personal situation

Bottom line is we only get to live this life once.  What will you make of it?  If you’re sitting there feeling guilty about your situation at home, at work, or in other areas of your life, change it.  The power is already in your hands.  Will this mean you may sacrifice something else?  Yes, it probably will.  Will you have to make some decisive choices?  Yes, definitely.  Will you be happier and have a more unified life?  Absolutely.

So tell me, does the idea of unity work for you?  Why or why not?

New Career Path? Look Over Your Shoulder.

Are you happy with your career?  Are you working or have you been laid off? 

I don’t know if it is the down-turn in the economy or the fact that many baby boomers are not retiring as early as they planned, but I hear from more and more people who are examining their career future.  I’ve heard from those that wonder if they should stay in their current position or current company.  I hear from those who have been part of a recent layoff and are now deciding whether to stick with their career choice or try something new.  I also hear from people who were ready to retire but are rethinking that decision and wondering how to proceed.  And of course, the recent college graduates who are finding it difficult to find work in the major they chose.  They too are examining career options for the future.

There are many outstanding recruiting bloggers that discuss the “how to’s” of steps to take in making a career move.  A good place to check some of the best out is at the most recent Career Carnival posted by Stephanie Lloyd at http://radiantveracity.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/welcome-to-the-career-carnival-blogging-event/.  The recruiters cover everything from using social media to find a job, what to do/not to do on your resume, networking, and more. 

I want to add to the knowledge and thinking by advising people in this stage of the career cycle to look back and examine their path. Often, the best way to see where you’re going is to look back where you’ve been.  I know I personally run at 100 m.p.h. most of the time and it is rare that I slow down and appreciate where I’ve been and how far I’ve come. 

Think back to when you first chose your career.  How did you decide what you wanted to do with your life?  Many people chose something they could be passionate about.  Even though it’s just a job, a means to an end, it’s was much more meaningful if you chose a career you were excited about.  As you look to the future, you should examine the steps you walked and what you learned so that you can use that knowledge to guide you to a new career. 

  • Roles- What were the first roles you had in your career?  Whether you were an intern, an apprentice, a generalist, a support staff, etc. the lessons learned during the early days of your career were very valuable.  It taught you how to interact with others.  It taught you about managing up.  About learning what the expectations were and how to exceed them.  It taught you about getting along with colleagues and how to fit in to the culture.  You were most likely a “do’er” during this time.  Absorbing everything new like a sponge.  As you explore career options, try to capture the enthusiasm of your youth when learning about the new career.  Be willing to be a “do’er” again.  Ask as many questions as you can.
  • Key influencers- Who were the people you looked up to when you first chose your career path?  Were they instructors?  Neighbors?  Maybe a family member.  Bottom line is you found people you respected and decided you wanted to emulate them.  What steps did they take to pursue that particular career?  What special skills or education were needed to get the job?  Look around.  Who can help and influence you in your new career?  Use social media to meet professionals in your new field or industry.  Reach out.  Be open.  Learn from the “experts”.
  • Take aways- So what does this mean to you now?  Is there a career you’ve always dreamed of having?  What are the steps you will need to take to embark on that career?  Is it an achievable goal?  Will you need more education?  A certification?  Will you need experience? 

Deciding to journey down a new career path is a daunting decision; however, it can be even more rewarding than can be imagined.