In an ideal world, there is always a better job, with more money, less political nonsense, and closer to home. That job respects and values you as an employee and will give you the quality of life that you deserve and have earned through your education, skills, and experience.

There is no such thing as an ideal job! That is why it is called work! And that is why you are paid to be at said job! 

However, if at this point in time you are underemployed, there are a number of things to do to get you back to the level where you are used to performing. With the drop in the national economy in the last few years, many people have taken jobs below their level of expertise.

Here are some ideas to bring you back to where you were before:

Volunteer to help on additional projects within the organization
1. Ask for a promotion when an opportunity above you becomes available
2. Utilize temporary work as a solution to become known within a company and then meet the decision makers who will ultimately hire you, likely in a more appropriate area for your skill set
3. Return to school. Now may be a great time to complete that college or advanced degree you have been waiting for

1. Your objective. You want a job. Understood. Replace this area with a skills summary of what you can bring to an employer.

2. Page 3 and beyond. Recruiters are spending under 20 seconds deciding if you are a fit. If you have more than 10 years of experience and went to your local print shop to bind your resume, you are sharing too much information. 20 seconds. That's all you get!

3. References available upon request. Is that adding value to your resume? Add software instead. Or language skills. Not hobbies.
I love driving a certain route to work in the morning. It is not the most direct route, nor the quickest. However, on this route, I will likely see someone who will brighten my day, without even getting out of my vehicle. Having a brief interaction with this person makes me smile, and gets my day started on the right foot.

Who am I excited to see? Read below to find out.

I dread Wednesday mornings! Mornings are convoluted enough, making sure we are out of the house on time, with lunches in hand, and ready to kick off another day in the middle of the week. Wednesdays are the day that my housekeeper (who I pay well) may or may not decide to come to the house. I wait somewhat anxiously, having cleared off the countertops, wondering if I will need to track her down, if she will be on time, or if I will wait until one of her relatives eventually calls, usually 20 minutes after I expect her, to advise me that she is sick/has an unexplained emergency, or otherwise cannot get there. 

Who is the stranger who sets my day right? He is a garbage collector, on the side of the road, who stops, just for a moment to wave and smile, wishing me a good morning. He has a great attitude, even though he has a dirty job, cleaning up garbage that others have left on the road without concern. He is a government employee, and likely is not making a whole lot of money.

Meanwhile, an employee who I pay more per hour than I made 3 years out of a Masters program, who also cleans someone else’s garbage, is not able to advise me when she is or isn’t going to be showing up. And when she loses the gig at my house and wonders why, I hope it is clear to all of my readers: she lacks work ethic. This is someone who does not take responsibility for her job. Many job seekers out there feel entitled to keeping their job, and never go above and beyond the minimum expectation for your job requirements. That will get you fired/laid off/excused/outsourced, or any other number of words meaning that you will not have a job.

Be the guy on the side of the road: go a step beyond! You won’t regret it!

1.     I deserve more money
2.     Do you have more money for me
3.     My kids, gas, house are issues

All 3 are the kiss of death!

1.     Get to the point. Today. I have other people to interview.
2.     As lovely as the 3 packs of cigarettes you smoked today smells on you, I think it’s time to wrap up this conversation.
3.     If your resume was any longer, you could subtitle it “War and Peace, part 2” and get a publisher to print it out
4.     Sorry you don’t want to drive more than .3 miles outside your door but I don’t have active job listings inside your subdivision.
5.     If I don’t pick up the phone the first time you call, leave a message. That’s what voice mail is for. Restraining orders are quite time consuming and I can’t believe you just called 18 times in a row. while I was wrapping up a call with a potential client because you don’t have 5 seconds of patience. I don’t want to work with you anymore.

I met a young soon-to-be college graduate through a referral as a recruiter. I was assisting a close friend by giving this entry level gentleman some advice. He was about to complete an internship at the company for which my friend works, and was referred to me to share with him some tips and tricks at how to break into a great opportunity.

This intern came into my office looking groomed enough to be a future CEO, CFO, or COO. He was well spoken, polished, professional, and confident. He had prepared a list of questions to be answered, and had taken the time to research my credentials as a recruiter as well as the organization with which he was interviewing. The gentleman had a firm, dry handshake, a can-do attitude, and a smile. The fact that he was wearing a crisp suit/tie/shirt did not go unnoticed. He dressed better than many people who work at the corporate level, especially in South Florida, where it is notoriously hot and humid outside.

His preparation for the interview, ability to converse both as a person and about his field of study, and the attitude of being able to make things happen if given the chance, without coming across as cocky or arrogant, makes me wonder why others are not taking a page from his book! I knew when meeting him that he would go far in whatever area he chose to pursue in business.


Fast forward 5 years: the same gentleman and I remain in touch. He recently reached out to me to assist him in hiring his own employees! He remains in contact with the network he made while interning, and goes to lunch with his colleagues when he returns to town. He is incredibly well liked, and has been very successful both in industry and in starting his own business.

As an entry level employee, this young superstar never acted with an expectation of more than he was capable of. He never came across as entitled. He simply showcased his capabilities, and leveraged his network as a professional who was beginning his career.

Congratulations on your success (you know who you are) and you are an exemplary example of starting your career the right way!

When presenting at local employment fairs, I meet many individuals who are "career unemployed", that is, individuals who have been out of work for at least 2 to 3 years. Before they speak, I am able to pick this group out of the crowd. Their body language is dejected. These people are no longer excited about being somewhere or talking to another person about a job. These 3 steps should help.

1. Dress professionally! Really professionally! Just because a track suit has the word "suit" in the name does not mean that it is a good wardrobe choice. Leave your shower shoes at home. I am saying this because last week, these were actually issues at the job fair where I spoke. 

Do not dress for the entry level position for which you are applying. Dress for the job you would like to eventually grow into. If you want to be the manager in 5 years, look as though you would present well to clients and subordinates.   Please be aware that the tattoo on your neck or the piercing in your cheek many not be appealing at a certain level of job. I am not against either, but there is a time and a place, and your job search should target your most professional persona.

2. Smile! The easiest way for me to pick the career unemployed people out at the job fair is because they look like they showed up at gunpoint. I know that you may be thinking: "Another job fair and very little prospect. Great! I got dressed up because my unemployment counselor told me to, and no one is that interested..." No one is that interested because you are not interesting. You are feeling sorry for yourself!

Put your best foot forward in every interaction. There are a handful of people there who are engaging every recruiter at the job fair. They are being personable and likeable. People hire who they like!!!

Even if the people who are hiring are not in your field, have a brief conversation. Give them a resume and personal business card. Set yourself apart. Ask for referrals. Network with the professionals who are there. They may know someone who can assist you.

3. Be confident! A firm (not bone crushing and not a limp fish) handshake, good eye contact, and strong posture will go a long way. Fake it 'til you make it. Come off as professional and people will want to have you on their team.

In short, be engaging, prepared, professionally dressed, and cheerful. Be the person you would want to work with. Be the person you would eventually want to work for. When you present as a successful professional, people believe you. And the money comes rolling in!
There is a strong need to provide excellent career advice to job seekers, especially in an economy that is questionable and unstable. Rest assured that the advice that I provide has been proven to work and that I have hired many professionals throughout my career. I have seen a great deal of suggestions on the web on how to draft a resume and how to get hired, and much of the information is very generic. Some of it terrifies me! I will provide you with tried and true information, with guest bloggers in the hiring profession, assisting you in maximizing your brand, enabling you to get a great career moving in the right direction, and working with you on the best ways to get promoted.

Please feel free to send me any questions and comments on my articles, and I will be happy to provide my expert opinion. I appreciate any feedback you are able to provide. Also, please share this blog on Facebook and LinkedIn freely, as I hope many people will be able to benefit from the information I am sharing with you.
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