Archive for the ‘job search’ Category

Where will the jobs be?

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

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Most experts believe the economy is showing signs of recovery. Officially, the Great Recession ended in June 2009. But if you were one of the 8 million people who lost their jobs or if you’re a recent college grad, the picture doesn’t look that bright, does it.

It’s not only that companies are hiring at a slower speed but also that whole industry sectors have been destroyed and certain jobs just won’t come back. In the global economy some manufacturing jobs, for example, have been lost to other markets with cheaper labor. So have jobs for people with less than a high school diploma or even for high school graduates without any college.

According to a Moody’s Analytics for TIME magazine, in the next couple of years, 37.6% of jobs will require a Bachelor’s degree or higher; 10.2% will require an Associate’s degree and another 17.5% will require some college. How are you positioned to get or keep your job?

One of the greatest problems we are facing as a nation is the mismatch of labor needs and workers’ skills. Even during the worst of the recession there were companies that couldn’t fulfill their open positions because there were few candidates with the right skill-set. People who work with technology: engineers of all kinds, artists, designers, programmers are at the top of the list for companies across the globe.

Opportunities in the professional services are also growing because as large companies have downsized they are now looking to outsource the capabilities that they don’t longer have in house. So, you may need to consider setting up your own consulting firm to serve several clients rather than seeking a full time job.

And looking beyond your own city and state may be more of a necessity than a choice as well. When you think that North Dakota has the nation’s lowest unemployment rate (a mere 3.8%) you realize that you may want to move from Detroit were the unemployment rate is anywhere between 30-50% depending on who you believe.

It’s a great time to leverage your Latino nimbleness: To become independent if you were used to full time employment, to get extra certifications and higher degrees if you notice that the available jobs require them, and to move wherever the jobs are. Keep in mind that you were raised with the ability to adjust to change, to try new roles, and to think out of the box. This is the time to make those traits work for you!

Everything impacts your image

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009
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Sometimes it’s hard to control every detail of your professional life: how you dress and communicate, your work ethic, your friends, the way you execute a project… Because the truth is that everything you do and even what you don’t do has an impact on your image.

Take for example a conference I attended this week. (I’m not going to say its name, hoping the organizers learn from the feedback and, either substantially improve the event next year or forget about the conference altogether.)

I signed up (and paid) mainly because of the keynote speaker. Yet, when I arrived (first at the wrong destination because the publicity materials were not clear) I was informed that the speaker had been canceled. “He wasn’t well known by the Latinos who were attending and he charged a lot of money so we decided to use the money to attract more people to come to the conference,” I was told by the organizer. I was furious and disappointed. It had been a very difficult morning for me and I had made the effort to attend because I wanted to hear the now-canceled-keynote speaker.

The conference was supposed to start at 9:00 but it didn’t get started until 10:00 and then they kept changing the workshops that were being offered and the rooms where they would take place. Even the host didn’t seem to have a script for the conference to flow smoothly.

In addition, the luncheon speaker was a Latino comedian. He was funny, sure, and I love a good belly laugh, but the truth is that this was an all day professional conference for which all of the attendees had sacrificed time at work and many had traveled from across the country. Instead of perpetuating the stereotype that Latinos are only about having fun, providing some solid content would’ve been a much better idea.

So, even though the topic of the conference was very relevant, the poor execution impacted the image of the organizers. It not only said something about their lack of professionalism but it also said something about how they viewed the audience. It told participants that, at some level, the organizers believed that because the audience was mainly Latino, they would be patient with the fact that the program was running an hour late, or with the various changes, or with the level of informality or with a canceled keynote speaker.

Making these kinds of assumptions can really hurt your image and your relationship with others. So here’s my advice: whatever you do, do it professionally or don’t do it. And keep in mind that informality is a trait many Latinos share but that it will get in the way of your career development in the American market. In addition, treating people with respect should always be a top priority.

Uncover your Latinoness

Thursday, September 24th, 2009
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The other day, after I gave a presentation about using your Latino traits to your advantage, a young female attendee asked me: “How can I advance in my career leveraging my Latino traits while avoiding the stereotypes?” It was a great question around a topic faced by many people who are second or third generation Latino and by those who have spent many years in this country and have learned to navigate the system well.

The tendency is to become overly assimilated and to forget where your roots are to the point where you may miss great opportunities to leverage that background to your benefit. This young lady avoided at all cost taking on assignments in Latin America or serving the Hispanic market as she believed, as many people do, that taking these kinds of assignments might pigeonhole her. And although this may be a good strategy at the beginning of your career, once you’ve proven your worth, you may want to reconsider it.

There are many Latino values that you should tap into. Having been raised by a Latino family has exposed you to certain experiences, world view and set of values that can be very useful in today’s marketplace. Finding out what they are and bringing them to the surface is the first step to leveraging their power.

So for instance, coming from an area of the world that experiences change constantly, your parents and grandparents grew up learning how to adapt. For them, the only way to survive involved creating alternatives to the way in which they conducted business or to how they managed their daily lives.

They instilled these skills in you, even if you didn’t realize it and in great part, you owe to your upbringing the ability to solve problems, the fact that you think fast on your feet, can change direction in a split second and can do several jobs with equal ease.

Your goal should be to communicate those unique skills as part of your value proposition to your bosses or prospective employers. That not only are you great at what you do, but on top of that, you have all of these Latino traits that will benefit the company. By aligning your value proposition to the company’s bottom line you have a much better chance to land a plum assignment or that coveted job.

Using social networks to find job opportunities

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

A short video with great tips to leverage social networks to develop relationships that may lead to job opportunities.

Online jobs: a myth?

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

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You think nobody gets jobs on the Internet, right? Wrrrrrrrrrong! Lots of people do! There are, however, three main reasons why that happens:

1. They are people who have a skill set and education that is unusual and for which there’s little supply and a big demand. For example, I have a friend who posted her resume and within 48 hours got two calls from recruiters that led to two in-person interviews and a job offer.

2. They have very well written resumes that are tailored to the positions to which they are applying. That means: if they list an objective, it is appropriate for the job they are applying for, they have included plenty of the keywords relevant to the job they seek and the resume has NO mistakes. (None, not a misplaced capital or a typo or formatting issues or grammatical errors like saying “leaves in NY” when you mean “lives in New York.”

3. They are actively engaged in the online search and not just posting resumes on every job board out there. That means: they choose certain job boards and stick to them so they can monitor the new positions that become available and they can participate in social networks on those sites; they use the job boards as a way to find out about companies that are recruiting and contact those companies directly for other opportunities; they join professional groups online and develop relationships that lead to sharing information about job openings.

These people understand that job boards are designed for the benefit of the recruiters (who pay for the service) rather than for the candidates (who access the site for free) so they develop strategies to become visible to these recruiters. For example, they answer questions on professional networks like Linkedin so they are seen as experts.

Follow these strategies and you too will cut the time it takes you to land a job online!

Don’t go it alone

Sunday, July 12th, 2009
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If you’re trying to find a job or would like to leave yours but are afraid that you won’t find another one in this economy, what about connecting with a few talented individuals and coming up with project that you can promote/sell as a team?

Assembling a team for a particular project is how movies are made. You have a director and producers who get together, look for actors, hire designers, assistants and all types of professionals with the goal of producing one movie. Once the movie is finished, the group is dismantled, so to speak.

What stops you from doing the same, connecting with individuals with different interests and abilities? Pull your collective resources including money, contacts, specialties and create your own job instead of lining up for an interview along with hundreds of others who are trying to get the same position?

I believe this is going to be very much the way of the future and the sooner you start figuring out how to make it work the better. I’ve been doing this in my practice for a while and the key is in finding the right people. Not just the right talent for your project but people who you trust will do their part to make the project successful. It may take several tries before you identify the colleagues you work with best, but it’s worth the effort. I currently have four of those teams.

Contrary to what you might think, this is a great time to explore this idea because there are lots of extremely capable and talented people out there looking for their next opportunity. Why not leverage all that energy for your next career move?

Students looking to make money?

Sunday, July 5th, 2009
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Latinos in College, the nationwide public awareness campaign to help increase the number of Hispanic/Latino students who graduate from college, is implementing a strategy that offers students across the country the opportunity to make money.

Here’s an idea of what it entails:

  • Contacting local high schools and universities to tell them about our initiative
  • Offering our student and parent workshops and the Latinos in College: your Guide to Success book
  • Conducting student and/or parent workshops

    You are:

  • Interested in helping Latinos and Latinas graduate from college
  • A college student or recent grad
  • Self motivated, perseverant
  • A great communicator
  • Good talking to groups
  • Comfortable calling people you don’t know
  • If you are interested in finding out more, contact us at: mariela@latinosincollege.com. Please share this posting with your friends and colleagues on your social networks.

    Resume SOS for Latinos

    Tuesday, June 9th, 2009
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    Given the state of the economy and what I do for a living, in the last few weeks I’ve seen my fair share of resumes. Most, I have to admit, were really bad. Not that the person who handed me the resume had no qualifications, but judging from their resume, they certainly had little chances of getting hired.

    What makes someone throw away your resume before they ever get halfway through? Here are a few turn offs:

  • Spelling or grammar mistakes, including capitalizing things that don’t need capitalizing or vice-versa, not using a capital when needed. (No matter how often you’ve heard this, I bet you that you still have more than one mistake on your resume.)
  • Using a general objective such as: “Find a position where I can apply my experience as a sales manager.” Why would I hire you versus anybody else when everyone wants exactly the same thing? If you’re going to use an objective, make sure it matches the job you are applying for.
  • A detailed list of basic tasks such as: “Typing letters, answering the phone, making photocopies.” You should always focus on what you bring to the table. Do you have a great “can do” attitude? Are you a dynamic “problem solver” that is constantly thinking ahead to lower costs, increase sales, expand customer base, etc.? That’s what an employer wants to know: what is your value, what were your achievements at your past jobs. Even if you had an entry level job as an assistant or secretary you should be able to convey what your value was.
  • For recent grads, an “education” section that just lists the name of the school and major. You need to include your GPA, any awards and merit scholarships you received, special courses you took, projects you participated in, non-profits where you volunteered, extra curricular activities you were involved with, etc. Just because you just graduated, doesn’t mean you don’t have a lot to offer.
  • The wrong format. Many people use the Latin American format of listing their oldest job first and the newest last. Don’t. The first thing on the resume should be your most recent job. Also, if you are old enough to have lots of experience, resumes can be two pages long so don’t try to fit everything on one page. Writing in small type and leaving no white spaces is another sure way to get your resume discarded.

    Undoubtedly, the best way to write a resume is from the perspective of the recruiter who will read it. Think about what they are looking for, what kind of person would fit well in their organization and write from that angle.

    As most employers ask for resumes to be emailed (and as hopefully you’re also using some job boards to post yours) don’t forget to customize your resume to each job application using keywords that match the job description. Resumes are reviewed by software that selects those that have the largest number of words matching each particular job posted.

  • Graduating with no job?

    Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

    Graduating from college right now could be a pretty scary thought. There are less job opportunities than there used to be, the industry you focused your studies in may be in shambles and even internships are hard to get.

    Don’t despair. There are always things you can do to beat the competition and get ahead. Currently, there are three million jobs that employers are having trouble fulfilling. They are in areas such as education, health, accounting and government. The big problem right now is a mismatch between employees skills and job openings. By adapting your skills to industries that need professionals like you, you might be able to land a coveted job.

    Here are a few things to consider:

  • Expand your horizons and consider industries outside of your major. Many of your skills are transferable so focus on sectors you may have not ever considered before.
  • Look into government internships and jobs. They offer great benefits and competitive pay. www.scholarships.fatomei.com.
  • Join professional associations of your industry and other industries where you would consider working. That will allow you to meet people and to expand your network.
  • Use sites like www.linkedin.com and www.ihispano.com to join groups and to ask for referrals to people who might have opportunities. Becoming active on these sites by answering questions, for instance, will give you more visibility.
  • Be aware that many companies are not listing their job openings to avoid being bombarded by resumes and are using their internal networks to find candidates. By expanding your network you will increase your chances of hearing about those hidden opportunities.
  • Keep in mind that over 90% of the people have jobs right now and they can help you get leads within their companies. So, make your network aware of what you are looking for and update them regularly on your progress.
  • Stop looking for a job: Ideas for new businesses

    Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

    It’s very easy to feel hopeless and worthless in this awful recession. If you’ve been to endless job interviews, sent your resume to dozens of people and stood in line at job fairs, you know exactly what I’m talking about. But I’m sure you can also related if you’ve been sick of your job for a while and now feel that you shouldn’t make a move because there are no job prospects out there.

    I actually think that this economic crisis is giving everyone permission to change careers and reinvent themselves in some radical ways nobody would have thought possible before now. Because up until a few months ago, if you were a lawyer and you wanted to become a Reiki practitioner, people would’ve thought that you had lost it. Not now. That’s exactly what a friend of a friend is doing. Reiki has been a passion for hers for a long time and now is her time to get serious about it.

    So here’s my suggestion: look at your interests, talents, passions and also at things you do because you enjoy them for family and friends but never extended beyond that. For example: if you went through bankruptcy in the past and you have spent the last few years rebuilding your credit and helping others avoid the experience, you may enjoy conducting workshops on this topic for people in that situation.

    If you are a handyman and have always repaired household appliances for you and your family, you may enjoy opening up a small business that would tap into this market’s thriftiness. People are not buying new appliances at the pace they used to, so they are fixing the old ones.

    If you have been taking care of an elderly relative and enjoyed it, you may be able to offer services to senior citizens in your area: companionship, driving the around to appointments, running errands, etc.

    If you like to cook, what about becoming a personal chef who goes to people’s houses once a week to prepare their meals and leave them in the freezer?

    The secret is to open up your mind to all possibilities. There may be things you do naturally that can be turned into a business and the best way to discover them is by talking to a few friends and asking them what have they noticed that you do well. You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel about yourself after a few of these conversations and hopefully, you’ll come out of them with a new business idea!