I am delighted to announce that beginning today, October 1, 2012, I’ll be writing a weekly blog post every Monday about careers, work and volunteering for NextAvenue.org. The site, which launched in May, is an initiative of the PBS system with content tailored to meet the unique needs of the boomer generation
On the Work & Purpose channel, you’ll find dozens of articles, videos and resources designed to help you with every aspect of your career including reinvention, entrepreneurship, the job search and encore careers. Beyond the Work & Purpose channel, the site also covers the following topics:
Be sure to check it out and let me know what you think. And if you have any suggestions about topics you’d like to see me cover on my blog, please don’t hesitate to let me know!
- Health & Wellness
- Money & Security
- Living & Learning
I read a lot of career books. So when I was asked to review Job Searching With Social Media for Dummies by Joshua Waldman, I agreed to do so, even though I figured I wouldn't learn much that I didn't already know on this hot topic. I am happy to report that I was wrong. Contrary to my initial assumption, I learned quite a bit, and I think you will too.
There are several reasons why I found this book refreshingly useful:
Comprehensive: Social Media is a BIG topic. Waldman does an outstanding job of presenting all the major social media platforms: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google, without overwhelming the reader. While there are already many useful books that cover each of the individual social media platforms, this book covers all the big players in one well-written reference guide.
Easy-to-Understand (Without Making You Feel Like a Dummy): I read articles about this subject all the time but I still have a hard time understanding it all. Waldman simplified it for me. He skillfully balances the basics with more advanced tips, strategies and ideas for people ready to ramp-up their social media activities a notch.
Balanced: People who are really into social media often forget that these tools are not the "end all, be all" of the job search process. Waldman understands the importance of having a balanced job search that successfully blends the high-tech with high-touch. While the main topic of this book is social media, the author includes lots of helpful information about the other strategies needed for a successful job search outcome.
Bottom line? I highly recommend this book for both novice and seasoned job-seekers. Practical, timely and easy-to-digest, this one is a winner!
The popularity of sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have dramatically increased the amount of time we spend networking. Unfortunately, this boost in networking activity doesn't always translate into a corresponding improvement in the quality of our networking interactions. If anything, it seems that the more time we spend networking, the more complacent we've become about using good manners and old-fashioned common sense in our outreach efforts.
Fortunately, it takes very little effort to transform yourself from a networking nitwit into a networking star. Here are five simple things you can do to make yourself a top-notch networker the next time you reach out to your connections, colleagues and "friends:"
1) Say Thank You: This sounds obvious, but I am continually amazed by the number of people who overlook the value of expressing gratitude. Please, if someone takes the time to help you, even if it is only a brief ten minute conversation, always remember to thank them. An e-mail is sufficient, but it's even nicer to go the extra mile and write a handwritten note. In our electronic world, a letter is a rarity and will leave a lasting impression. If your contact goes "above and beyond" in a big way, it is always lovely to acknowledge their generosity with a small gift (a book, flowers, or special food item) along with your note of thanks.
2) Pick up the Tab: If you initiate a request for a networking meeting over coffee or a meal, you should offer to pick up the bill. If the other person declines your offer and reaches to pick up the bill instead, suggest splitting the bill. If they insist on paying, be gracious and allow them to do so, but always, always, always follow-up with a thank you note (detecting a theme here?).
3) Follow Through on Introductions: I love to connect people and watch good things come out of those introductions. Over the years my "fix-ups" have resulted in job offers, new business opportunities and even a book deal! But it drives me crazy when I take the time to make an introduction and then the person fails to do their part and follow-through on their end. It's rude to all parties involved. If for some reason you can't (or don't want to) follow-up after an introduction has been initiated, let the person who made the introduction know that your plans have changed. Easy to do, no excuses here.
4) Recognize all "Friends" are Not Created Equal: At a time when people have 1,000+ Facebook friends, the meaning of the word friend has been diluted, sometimes to the point of, ""You sent me an e-mail once, want to be my friend?" Please understand that simply being a member of someone's LinkedIn or Facebook group, does not automatically entitle you to access their network. People work hard to cultivate their valued contacts and they have the right (and obligation) to be selective about when and how they choose to leverage their contacts. Disrespect those boundaries at your own peril.
5) Give Before You Get: Give often, give generously and give without expecting anything in return. Networking is based on the value of giving before you receive. If you practice this basic tenet of networking, your efforts will be duly rewarded.
What say you? Do you have any networking tips or pet peeves that you'd like to share? Please comment below. And in advance, thanks for your input!
Part-time jobs can be a great solution for people interested in creating a lifestyle-friendly career; either as your sole means of income, as part of a "portfolio" career, or as a way to pay your bills while you ramp-up in a new career or business.
If you're interested in pursuing part-time work, here are ten tips for finding those elusive oppportunities:
1) Think small: For years, I've maintained that one of the best ways to find a flexible job is to target small employers. A 2005 National Study of Employers conducted by the Families and Work Institute confirmed my opinion. The study revealed that small businesses (defined as organizations with 50 to 99 employees) offer employees more opportunities for workplace flexibility, while large employers provide more benefits that have direct costs. In fact, the study concluded that small employers are significantly more likely to offer flexibility to all or most employees than employers of other sizes.
2) Focus on start-ups and solopreneurs: Start-up and one-person businesses are often desperate for help, but they can’t afford to pay full-time salaries. As a result, they can be a good option for people interested in working on an part-time basis (and as a bonus, you might be able to work from home while enjoying a part-time schedule since most start-ups lack sufficient office space).
3) Expand your search beyond corporate — to cultural, religious and community-based institutions: For-profit companies are often reluctant to hire part-time personnel so you should expand your part-time search to include institutions outside the corporate mold. Museums, theaters, arts-agencies, churches, temples, and libraries all tend to rely heavily on part-time staff.
4) Explore government jobs: Hard as it may be to believe, the federal government actually has some of the most progressive employment policies around; job-sharing, telecommuting, and part-time schedules are all available to government employees. Of course, you don't neccesarily have to relocate to Washington, D.C., to take advantage of these jobs since there are federal jobs in all fifty states. If you aren’t located near a federal office, consider applying for a position with your state or local town government office.
5) Look at jobs in healthcare, education and sales: Part-time scheduling has long been an option for people involved in education (e.g., preschool teachers, adjunct professors), healthcare (e.g., nurses and dental hygienists) and sales-related occupations (e.g., real estate, telephone sales, etc.). Even if you don't plan to become a teacher or nurse, you might be able to enjoy the benefits of working a part-time schedule in an administrative or support role within these industry sectors.
Now that you know what types of companies tend to favor part-time employment, here are five strategies for finding job openings:
6) Network, network, network: As in any job search, the best way to find part-time opportunities is through a process of active networking. Tell everyone you know that you are interested in working part-time; reach out to former colleagues, employers and personal friends through both in-person initiatives and social-media channels.
7) Approach Companies Directly: If you don’t have a way to network into a company, approach them directly. Come up with a list of target employers, identify a problem you can solve and pitch your part-time services as an antidote to their problem. For example, if you want to work as a part-time employment interviewer, analyze the classifieds to identify employers who are in an active hiring mode and then contact them about your recruiting services. Even if the company can’t afford to hire you as a part-time employee, they might be willing to initially hire you on as a contractor, which could lead to more regular work in the future.
8) Temp your way into a part-time job: Companies like to offer jobs to people who have worked for the company on a temporary basis. Some companies maintain a stable of in-house temps; so if you are interested in working with a specific company or within a specific industry, consider approaching them directly about the possibility of doing temp or contract work for them. There are also a growing number of temporary agencies that place people into companies on a part-time basis (e.g., tentiltwo.com).
9) Use the Job Boards (sparingly): Many of the online job banks provide a filter that allows you to restrict your search results to jobs with flexible or part-time hours. The number of part-time jobs listed online are limited, but the odds for finding part-time with this method are increasing all the time. Also, be sure to sites like FlexJobs.com that specialize in flexible job listings.
10) Check Craigslist.com (frequently): For several years, Craigslist.com did not charge a fee for job postings (that is now slowly changing but their rates are still cheaper than many other sites). As a result, Craigslist has become a favorite place for entrepreneurs and small businesses to post their job openings (and as you learned in tips #1 and #2, small employers = better odds for part-time gigs). I know of several clients who found interesting contract and part-time work on Craiglist.com.
Most of all, be patient. Finding a good part-time situation takes perseverance, but the payoff of a less stressful lifestyle, personal flexibility and a steady part-time paycheck, makes it a challenge worth pursuing.
Without a doubt, the single most popular question I am asked when I speak is, "How do I find a legitimate work-from-home job? As anyone who has ever tried to locate work-at-home jobs online will agree, finding quality listings is trickier than you would think. Scams abound and many of the legitimate listings are for low-level and/or low-paying positions.
Nonetheless, there are good jobs listings out there – if you need to know how to find them. To help you do so, I asked my friends over at Ratracerebellion.com to offer their "insider" advice to my readers and they graciously agreed to do so. (Click here to learn more about them — they are a truly remarkable resource for telecommuters).
And so with my sincere thanks to Michael and Christine, the brains behind Ratracerebellion.com, here are five tips for finding work-from-home jobs online:
1. With a 61-to-1 scam ratio, be extremely cautious. Beware promises of high income for little work, "no experience necessary," and "testiphonyals" (bogus testimonials), which often feature pirated photos. Photos can be checked at Tineye.com.
2. Job aggregators such as Indeed.com are excellent sources of legitimate home-based jobs of all kinds. Try the "Advanced Job Search" feature, and such phrases as "work from home," "work at home," and "this is a telecommuting position."
3. Many home-based positions involve writing, so if you're good with a pen, you're in luck. Check sites such as Problogger.net and journalismjobs.com/for openings. If you're an expert in your field, try About.com (owned by the New York Times), which has an ongoing need for "Guides" and "Contributing Writers."
4. When using general search engines (as opposed to site-specific search engines, such as Indeed's), steer clear of phrases such as "work at home jobs" or "work from home," which retrieve a high ratio of scams. Use phrases such as "must have a quiet home office" or "this is a remote position." These won't eliminate scams, but will help reduce the ratio.
5. The "homeshoring" movement (home-based customer service agents) is expanding rapidly, so if that's of interest, your timing's perfect. Legitimate employers include VIPdesk.com, 1-800-FLOWERS, Arise.com, AlpineAccess.com, and many more.