Some people love their jobs. They love every single day of what they do. They never have any complaints, and come in cheerful and…wait! That’s not reality!!!

No matter what you do, and no matter how much you are getting paid, work is still WORK! That is why they pay you to be there. I would like to think that at some point in each of our lives, there will be a job which you have nothing but love and affection for every single time you walk in the door, but that is not reality. Reality dictates that there will be good, bad, and many in-between days. If it was that much fun to go to work, it would be called a vacation, and you would be paying someone to be there, rather than the other way around.

Case in point: we had a honeymoon at an all inclusive, incredible resort. My husband and I would return there without hesitation (except that it’s really REALLY expensive). Why? Because every single person who we met working at the resort went above and beyond expectations. They made our vacation incredible. Unfortunately, it was not a vacation for them, but another day of hard work. So, even in paradise, there are people being paid to help others enjoy their stay.

I have heard people say that they would be happy at work if they had more money. With more money comes more responsibility, thereby increasing stress and decreasing time with your family. No matter where you sit on the food chain, work is still work. It may not be self-actualizing, it may not even be fun, but that’s why you are paid to go.

 
 
The hardest thing to manage is the wait time between the interview and the next conversation, hopefully the one with the job offer. You feel that the interview went well, and are on pins and needles, when the manager said he/she would call you by Friday to let you know. It's 4:48 on Friday afternoon and you are climbing out of your skin! What happened??? Here are a few possibilities to ease your mind and give you the ability to get through the weekend without obsessing over the call.

1. There was an issue in the department to which the manager needed to focus direct attention. Besides hiring, the manager is responsible for tending to the needs of his/her department, and many times there are end-of-day or end-of week issues which divert attention from hiring.
2. While the position needs to be filled, there are other priorities within the organization and filling the position is not the primary focus at this time. Perhaps the department is working cohesively right now and there isn't a rush.
3. The manager may have left due to a family or personal emergency. It happens. Managers are people too!
4. The hiring person or group has not yet rendered a decision on who to hire. Perhaps they are still thinking about it, or perhaps they are checking references.
5. Maybe you are a second choice candidate and the first person has not decided whether they are accepting the position.

Regardless, stay calm and positive. It's also possible that the person simply forgot the time to call you. We've all said something in passing where the other person fixated on the specifics that we forgot. Give the person an extra 3-4 days, and then follow up with a call or email asking if there is any information you may provide to make the decision making process easier. Being helpful is always better than being needy and desperate!
 
 
If I am recruiting for a position with your background, there is a good chance that I know what you do at your job, and what you have done at your last job. Rehashing every bullet point from your job description is not going to set you apart on your resume. Providing no more than 5 bullet points on how you have helped the company and set yourself apart from your colleagues is a much stronger way to present your background. Please don't bury me under 25 bullet points, including "Other duties as assigned", and expect me to have any interest in what you have written. Highlight how you have saved money for the company, a special project you implemented, or how you successfully improved customer service feedback. Give me a reason to see value in hiring you.

Similarly, in a cover letter, please do not add a laundry list of qualifications ("I am personable, dependable, professional, reliable...") I don't want your qualification grocery list! I want an idea of what you can do. You are able to share this through colorful examples of your success. Share what accolades your boss has shared about you. Give some information about what you have done that will set you apart from the sea of other candidates.

In an interview, share examples as well. Make sure they are examples with positive outcomes!!! You bring more of your personality with examples! I have said it over and over and will say it again: PEOPLE HIRE WHO THEY LIKE!
 
 
Student: Nobody seems to be hiring.
Me: How many applications have you sent out since I saw you a few months ago?
Student: 2

(I will withhold commentary!)

Student: I haven’t received leads recently.
Me: Where do you look for jobs?
Student: www.indeed.com, where you showed me to look.
Me: Wow! Me too! So why would I find something you aren’t able to find for yourself?

(Hmmm….)

Now for the commentary: Would you like me to send out your resume, write a targeted cover letter, interview for you, get the job, work for you, and just send you a paycheck???
 
 
How do you work with temp agencies to benefit your job search without getting into an ethical dilemma?

Some organizations will lead you to believe that you are only to register with one company. Unless that organization is starting you on an immediate temp-to-hire job for which you interviewed, there is no reason not to sign up with a few different agencies. Different recruiters/organizations have different relationships with hiring managers throughout different markets. With that in mind, you may not need to register with every organization in your local market. Have an honest and open conversation with the recruiter who interviews you. Find out what he/she feels is the chance you will be placed based on their knowledge of the market in relation to your skill set. With that in mind, this is not a chance for you to become argumentative and feel you can convince someone to use you and only you. (I have had that happen many times!)

Identify the specialty of the staffing firm and how you may be able to be a good fit. Don’t call your recruiter repeatedly, no matter how badly you need to work!! They will find you to be needy and annoying, and will not want to work with you! Similarly, be available or call back quickly when you receive a call. Don’t play recruiters against one another, or you will wind up “blackballed” from a variety of firms. Be ethical both in your search and in your business practices, and people will be excited to work with you.

If you are flexible on your hourly pay and location, more recruiters will regularly reach out to you for employment. If you won't leave the green grass in your backyard for under $100/hour, you will be looking for a job for a long time!

 
 
The projects I hated most in middle school and high school involved "current events". We had to cut out an article and research in detail what was going on in that area. I did this often, and never understood at the time why this was important.

Fast forward a number of years: I read the paper regularly and am advised of national, local, and state news. I read many articles/blogs/books about my industry. I have been quoted as a subject matter expert because of my vast knowledge of the employment arena, both on a national and local level. I am aware of employment and unemployment trends, fair market value for salaries, and have extensive resources on how to rapidly find information.

Moments ago, I spoke with a student who graduated in Healthcare Management. She had no understanding of last week's healthcare reform bill that the Supreme Court had passed. She had not heard of Occupy Wall Street. I advised her that in order to be a good manager and employee, she needs to be aware of what is going on in the local market.

I am now grateful for those current events projects, because they taught me the importance of gaining knowledge of what is going on around you. Be a subject matter expert. Add value to your employer or potential employer!
 
 
Put yourself in the shoes of your employees. Instead of assuming that a $10/hour employee is as invested in the bottom line of the company as you are (making a management salary), see what incentivizes your employees. Many of them are working multiple jobs to make sure they have gas in their car and food on their table. They may not care about the long term effects of the business forecast plan.

A great way to motivate is to see what the "hot buttons" are for your employees who work diligently each day and want to achieve more, whether they are enrolled in school or working towards a promotion.

Please treat them with the respect they deserve! They, in turn, will want to give you more!
 
 
You keep getting passed over for opportunities. Your resume reads: "Over 20 years (or 30 years) of experience" but the jobs you are looking for say 5 or 10. People tell you that you are overqualified. Sound familiar? Keep reading!

1. Get the "over 20 years" off the top of your resume. Highlight the last 10 years of employment, and only list more on your resume if you were at the same company for longer than 10. For instance, 1997-2011 is fine. Do not truncate to 2001-2011 just to identify 10 years. However, anything further back can be summarized in an accomplishment based cover letter.

2. Do not tell an employer "I'll take anything!" Would you date someone who just wanted a date, or are you looking for a mate who is attracted to YOU? Highlight why you are a good fit for the position. Desperation is unappealing!

3. Do not considerably undersell yourself to a position. I had controllers who needed cash and wanted to temp as accounts receivable reps. If it has been years since you have done receivables, the employer knows that. Take a more general accounting based position (ie: senior accountant/accounting manager).

4. If you are told that you are overqualified for a position, ask the hiring manager why that is perceived as negative. Find out what the concerns are (since you are not being hired for the position anyway, you have nothing to lose!

5. If the manager justifies him/herself as to why you are overqualified, ask if there are any other positions open that would be a better fit for someone with your caliber of expertise! You may be pleasantly surprised as to what you find out!
 
 
Please pay attention to what you are doing if you are responsible for the care or life of a person or animal! I cannot stress enough how important your role is as a healthcare or helping professional. Someone's LIFE is in your hands and it is up to YOU to ensure that you do everything it takes to be responsible and accountable for your actions.

A true example: A couple of years ago, my toddler son was in the Emergency Room for croup, a severe breathing issue for an asthmatic child. His nurse, who had not been paying the attention that was required, provided him with an adult dose of the wrong medication! Thankfully, he was okay, however delayed 8 hours for monitoring in the hospital. The outcome could have been, but wasn't, life threatening.

Take control of what you are doing. Make sure that with responsibility comes the attention to detail required to care for the life of another. The same is true if you choose to care for an animal when their owner is not home. To you, it may be just a dog or cat, but to the family, it is a loved one and as much a family member as anyone else.

If you choose not to do so and get fired, it is nobody's fault but your own, and that is a rough one to explain away in an interview!
 
 
Due to some recent unexpected and tragic circumstances, I had to take a bit of time off of writing here. However, I am back! And today, I am going to share with you why you need to stop complaining and stop making excuses about being unemployed and underemployed.

Life is going on all around you. People ARE getting jobs every day. How? They network. They apply. They do not complain to people who they meet about how bad the market is, but sell themselves as assets to a hiring company! Therein lies the difference between the career unemployed and someone who is on the verge of the next great opportunity!

The difference between success and failure is the level of activity and effort you provide to your search. Nobody is currently sitting in their executive office wondering when your resume will work its way across your desk. You are your own priority and no one else’s! Take accountability for and control of your search! Take responsibility and ownership, because no one, not even your recruiters, care as much about your livelihood as you do. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but it is a fact!

Yes, I am angry right now. I am depressed and frustrated! But I am still working, still providing, still doing what I need to do to ensure my family is fed and that there is a roof over our heads. Do the same!!! Work some magic. Apply to 2 more jobs than you really feel like. Get dressed professionally and head to a job fair or networking event.

Or don’t. But when you don’t, the only person to blame is you!