Shaking Off Past Job Dust

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Minnesotans tend to prefer freezing temps in the winter. Snow is easier to clear than rain, which inevitably turns to ice. On a recent warm December day, I spent hours clearing our rain-turned ice driveway—lots of time to think about things such as the California live-in nanny who refused to leave after being fired. The mom seemed high strung; not a fun boss. The nanny had been involved in 37 civil court cases and would probably sue the family. She hadn’t left as she was wronged.

The “squatter-nanny” led me to Matthew 10:13, where Jesus instructs His disciples to share their peace with believers. If they enter a home or town and are unwelcome, they should leave, shake the dust off their feet, and peace will be returned. I considered civil court cases where people spent hours and hours fighting over a few hundred dollars. They’d probably be ahead selling aluminum cans or umping a couple of little league baseball games. I looked at the gorgeous sunset and had a revelation. Chopping ice was boring, but led me to that beauty. People suing, fighting, holding onto anger, and ruing over problems, unfairness, etc., are looking backward and are often missing beauty, opportunity, and peace. This includes negative issues with past jobs.

Job seekers don’t often seek me if their work lives are perfect. They may be in a stressful situation, been wrongly fired, had critical bosses, judgmental coworkers, unrealistic expectations, pay problems, been injured, and more. I feel for them.

Maybe you’ve been dealt great blows and even have legitimate legal claims. I am not an attorney, nor trying to dissuade you from taking appropriate action. Job seekers want my help to ensure their future is better than their past. So I am sharing that it’s almost impossible to improve your career path if you are enmeshed in past job problems.

Forgiveness has zero to do with the other party. It has 100% to do with you, and although hard, is very freeing. Leaving negativity aside lifts you. Living a healthy life, surrounding yourself with positive people, volunteering, etc., brings more joy than “deserved” money, smearing someone or a company, and/or getting a judge to agree you’ve been wronged. If possible, think: “I tried to bring happiness and help my past coworkers, company and boss. For reasons I couldn’t control, I wasn’t welcome. That’s their problem and not mine. I am now going to shake the dust of that past career woe off my feet. Then the problems will remain theirs, peace will be restored to me. I will move on, my future career looks bright, and I can watch many beautiful sunrises and sunsets.” Think of the squatter nanny. What if she devoted the same efforts towards learning new skills, meeting great people and moving up in her career as she did towards lawsuits? She probably wouldn’t be in her 60s, jobless, living in her car.

Good luck job searching,

Elizabeth Husom, GCDF

Dress to Impress

Job seekers often ask me the nuts and bolts of interviewing—in addition to question answering, they want to know what to wear/how to look:

Although office and corporate staff needs proper business attire, not every interviewee needs to don a business suit for an interview. It’s considered appropriate to wear clothing at least 1 step up from what you’d wear at work; usually “business casual.”

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Today, people are often more casual than in times past. I recently attended a wedding where the groom and his groomsmen wore jeans. We used to have “church clothes.” Some (including me), still like to dress a little nicer for church than the gym, but many wear hoodies, t-shirts and workout pants. When interviewing for any type of job, better is usually better. Think about past church clothing, or people like teachers, bank tellers, cosmetologists and front desk clerks. They often wear business casual attire. People sometimes also call this “smart casual.”

Business Casual Pants for Women It encompasses a wide variety of clothing and styles–ironed, button down shirt or sweaters, zip-up chinos or khakis, a blazer with nice jeans, skirt to your knees or longer, nice shoes—no work boots or sneakers—etc. It doesn’t include holey or light blue jeans, t-shirts, hoodies, mini-skirts, cropped shirts, tight pants, low cut shirts; anything inappropriate, really worn, wrinkled, or way outdated. If you smoke, don’t smell.

During an interview, you are making a first impression. So make it good. You don’t need the latest fashion from a high-end store. It doesn’t matter your age or size. We all can look nice, whether we are 64 years old or wear plus size clothes. Head to the thrift store. Get something nice that maybe came out a couple of years ago. Shop at Walmart. Looking nice is respectful and shows you care. Some may not notice, but some will.

Good luck job searching,

Elizabeth Husom, GCDF

God Blessed the Broken Road-Job Wise

c5da8d09731f5529d1b833dbe0701653I’ve been in the career field for many years, so much of my clientele comes from referrals.  Sometimes a job seeker needs a new position for a certain reason, but lament because their coworkers, set up, hours, customers, and supervisors were awesome. I next meet with one of these coworkers also needing something new. Unlike the first person, they are thrilled to leave and discuss the exact opposite—bad boss, coworkers, and all around set up. Both people have high work ethics and are warm and kind.

But personalities, interests, experiences and needs differ, so groups gel differently. What is fantastic for one person may be blah for another. It often has zilch to do with the people individually.

When job searching, remember: people are unique. If you failed to perform or fit in well at a former position or with previous coworkers often has no bearing on how far you can fly at a different job in circumstances better geared for your strengths—unless you let it. Be brave; look ahead. Don’t hold others’ personalities and strengths against them, and don’t focus on past failures. Think of them as learning experiences, leading you on a better path. Listen to “God Bless the Broken Road” by Rascall Flatts on YouTube or watch the movie of the same name. They aren’t about new jobs but pertain perfectly.

Good luck job seeking,

Beth Husom, GCDF

Successful Transplants

images (6)In the career world, a “successful transplant” doesn’t involve human organs or surgical procedures. It involves moving far away, getting in with a fabulous company, and thriving. After a big move, people may be concerned about fitting in. For as we know, even in the US, different states and areas of the country often have unique accents, expressions, events, and behaviors.

Successful transplants are thriving in every state. Sometimes people feel like they need to completely morph into a native to get in the door, but that’s not true. So don’t go into an interview trying to hide an accent or act a certain way. When job seeking in a different area, promote your background and use it to your advantage.

images (7)Diversity in a company is awesome, especially when the corporation has clients and vendors outside their area (like almost all do).  Hiring people from different states and countries often helps companies better reach out, communicate, and understand their customers. Go ahead: if you are from Minnesota living in Texas, be wild: call a Pepsi “pop.” Since you’re probably an expert, head an inservice on trendy layering if the weather gets unseasonably cool. Say “you guys” instead of “y’all”, and comment something is “spendy” when it has a large price tag. If your company has Northern clients, your coworkers will finally have someone to help decipher and translate our odd expressions, words and accents.

Good luck job hunting,

Elizabeth Husom, GCDF

Large or Small Company?

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I’ve been asked 100s of times: “Should I work for a large corporation or a small company?” My usual smart-alecky answer: “Yes.” Because of their media coverage and advertising, it seems everyone works in a high-rise office building or massive warehouse. But drive down any US street, and see all the plumbing companies, delis, neighborhood stores, dentists, churches, etc., and you’ll realize it makes sense that around half of US employees work for small businesses.

In a small company, employees’ duties are often widespread. The Front Desk worker may handle marketing, inventory, and bills. Employees at Fortune 500 companies are in departments with specific tasks. However; there are greater chances for growth, new products, brands,  and more. They often have better benefits, and more. It can be a little colder-people in an out, less personal influence or chance for ideas, etc.

If small business employee doesn’t like his/her coworkers, life can be tough. There’s nowhere to go. In a large corporation, they can potentially change departments. However, small businesses can be wonderful if you get along with the other employees.

For benefits combined with coziness, a local franchise may be an option—your neighborhood Fantastic Sam’s, Edward Jones, Thrivent, Holiday, Perkins-type places. They may have the monetary resources of a large corporation in a smaller setting. There are pros and cons to everything. RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH!

In my home state of Minnesota, people ask me the corporation question a lot, as it’s home to companies such as: United Health Group, General Mills, 3M, Target, Polaris, BestBuy, US Bank, Medtronic, Regis, Travelers, Allina Health, Buffalo Wild Wings, Anytime Fitness, Valspar, Sleep Number…and a couple unfamiliars, such as: Coustic-Glo International Ceiling Maintenance (72,500 employees), Cargill (150,000 employees), and EcoLab (47,565 employees)—plus a bunch of other biggies. So when someone wants to know: MyPillow or local school? My answer-“yes.”

Good luck job hunting,

Elizabeth Husom, GCDF

Needed PTO before hire; do you tell?

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Should you apply for new jobs with known upcoming time off needs? When a person’s job ends, they may have family reunions, pre-booked vacations, tickets to a big game, healthcare procedures, weddings, etc., on the horizon. They ask—I need a new job but can’t miss this event. What do I do?

You can: #1-Wait to search. #2-Tell an employer during an interview or before accepting a position. #3-Apply for days off after hire. Number two is usually best. Never let something small hinder your long-term. If everyone waited until life is perfect until job searching, no one would look. There’s always “something”; kids’, health, move, event, etc. Potential employers have lives as well. Most understand.

Don’t start an interview by asking about the vacation policy or telling about your upcoming cruise or planned dental procedure. If you are excited about a company, towards the end, share your excitement about them and honestly say what’s upcoming. Indicate (if you are), that will be flexible regarding start date, vacation days, etc. Don’t wait until hire. You could seem untrustworthy or disrespectful. Additionally, companies often develop training plans, and may rearrange internal schedules or pay outside resources to help new hires.

I’ve had clients wait to start jobs, take the time as unpaid, or use PTO right away. Sometimes they’ll agree to pay back money if they leave before a certain time. Companies try to make good hires. However; this eliminates concern over the unknown.

Good luck job seeking,

Elizabeth Husom, GCDF

 

Shortening your resume

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It takes me a lot longer to write short pieces than long ones. I’m extremely familiar with  job seeking and write long blogs in minutes. However; these aren’t published. Instead, I edit. I attempt to say the same thing using half the words. They take longer to complete, and end up on Job Seeking Adventures. But why do this?

Readers (including HR reps), scan. It helps to cut extra info and be action-oriented. Clients often bring me long resumes without specifics. Or, they include the same duties under multiple jobs. Or, they share technology, equipment, and duties unrelated to jobs they are applying for. As I share with them, every word on a resume and cover letter should have a reason for being there. If you have similar jobs, set up a “Professional Experience” section to share once what you’ve completed at all positions. In your “Employment” section, list the jobs without general duties, but accomplishments and specifics unique to that position.

Only use past duties in the context of transferable skills. For instance; an RN going for a Customer Service position doesn’t need to share medical equipment and specific healthcare procedures, but should determine and share skills involved with patient care that will be invaluable to helping the company’s customers.

Again; remember more isn’t always better with resumes and cover letters. Say a ton in few words.

Good luck job hunting,

Beth Husom, GCDF