Re-entering the Job Market

Re-entering the job market

Summer is in full swing and, while many of us are still on lockdown, stay-at-home parents are anxiously awaiting schools reopening. And when kids are entering kindergarten, many parents are looking forward to the opportunity to re-enter the job market and pick their career back up.

But it’s not that easy, is it?

Your resume has been on hold for 5+ years, times and technologies have changed, new terminology arises daily. Where do you start? How do you position yourself as a prime candidate? Are you even ready?

Here are a few dos and don’ts to help guide you along this transition:

Do: Volunteer. Dust off your skills and get your experience up to date by volunteering with a local non-profit organization. Treat it like a paid job, measure your results, and record your impacts.

Don’t: Undervalue your skills and experience. Your experience may be outdated, but don’t be afraid to apply for your dream job. It’s all about how you position yourself!

Do: Get professional help. Your search won’t be cookie cutter. Your resume will need special tweaking and presentation. You will need to relearn how to talk about your experience, your goals, and experience. A career coach and professional resume writer can make a world of difference in the success of your search.

Don’t: Include “CEO of the Smith Household” on your resume and treat it like a job. We know being a stay-at-home parent is a lot of work, but it has no place in your professional experience.

Do: Consider a functional resume instead of a chronological resume. Functional resumes allow you to highlight your experience rather than your most recent job, so they’re a great choice for those who don’t have “perfect” traditional experience.

Don’t: Draw attention to the fact that you haven’t been in the professional world for several years. Don’t lie about it either. Just keep the focus on the positives and give them reasons to keep you in the “yes” pile.

Do: Get networking. Check-in with your former colleagues, consider attending industry events, meet new people and don’t be afraid to let them know you’re looking to get back at it!

Don’t: Expect to reenter exactly where you left (or higher) with stale experience and skills. Would it be awesome to do that? Absolutely! Are you setting yourself up for failure with unrealistic expectations? Probably.

Do: Take some formal training courses to freshen up your skills and/or add new ones. This will be much more impressive when they ask what you’ve been doing in recent months than saying you’ve been binging Disney+ with the kids.

No matter how you approach your search, be sure to set realistic expectations and hold yourself accountable for putting the effort necessary. And, most importantly, make sure you have a supportive cheering section to get you through this stressful time!

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Time to Recharge

If you’re a parent, you’re probably celebrating the end of isolation school and eLearning right about now. And while school is out for summer, family vacations are probably looking pretty different this year.

A break from work is essential regardless. Your brain needs downtime to recharge, quiet time to process, and, truly, boredom to really create! After months of the stress of quarantine, an escape is possibly exactly what we need most right now, and you can do that without airplanes and festivals.

Go for a change of scenery

If you are the outdoorsy type, a camping trip can be the perfect way to recharge. Immerse yourself in nature, enjoy the birds, go hiking or biking, and quiet your brain.

Is indoor plumbing a requirement for you to be able to relax? Sleep in the comfort of your own bed, but take daily walks to explore new areas, new trails, anything. Just get out of the house and explore someplace new.

Disconnect

This is simultaneously the easiest and the hardest way to recharge. Disconnect. No news. No social media. No work. Turn it all off and just exist.

While it is undeniably important to be aware of current events, there are times where it is just too much and you need a break. How can you recharge from the stress of work if you are filling your heart with all the world’s worries during your vacation?

Need human interaction? By all means, text, call, write letters…but be intentional about it. No mindless scrolling, no reading the news. Control what is coming in so that your time recharging is as effective as possible.

Explore something new

Not a fan of staring at a blank wall? I’ll be honest, doing some serious “nothing” would be my top choice, but if slowing down isn’t really your thing, take the opportunity to explore something new. This could be a hobby you’ve always been interested in picking up, one you’ve been neglecting even, learning a language, studying a topic, or exploring a place.

One big positive to come from the COVID pandemic has been the plethora of virtual resources at our disposal. While many resources are geared toward school-age children, who is going to turn down the chance to catch a zoo or aquarium live feed or explore the The Louvre from your couch?

No matter how you decide to recharge, be sure you do. Your mental health, your work performance, and your physical health will all thank you for some R&R.

Best Jobs For A Pessimist

One of the most common pieces of advice given to young people deciding what they want to do professionally for the rest of their lives is to “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” That is easier said than done depending on what a person loves to do, but it is made easier depending on the imagination of the person contemplating their professional future. Another thing that aids in the choosing of a career is choosing one that matches or compliments a person’s personality, rather than one that contradicts it. One big personality characteristic that people use to define themselves is whether a person is an optimist or a pessimist. Below are some career paths that are popularly known to be compatible with pessimists.

Actuaries appraise, manage, and advise their clients on areas of potential financial risk. It is vitally important that their calculations are correct because of the impacts they could have downstream. Pessimists can thrive as actuaries because of their knack for sticking to what the numbers truly are instead of trying to dress them up. Because actuaries typically deal with worst-case scenarios, who better to conceptualize a worst-case scenario than a pessimist? Businesses who rely on the work produced by pessimistic actuaries rarely find themselves facing scenarios worse than the ones foretold by their calculations.

Solicitors (also known as barristers in the UK) are attorneys paid to represent their clients in court regarding legal matters. Pessimism can be a vital tool for these career paths for a variety of reasons. Because of the dire circumstances than can accompany legal proceedings, clients typically appreciate being apprised of exactly how bad their situation could be so they can plan accordingly. Pessimistic solicitors and barristers can be reliable communicators of such topics without the temptation to soften up potentially bad news. Also because of the high stakes of such proceedings, legal opponents are frequently stooping to new lows to represent their clients. A solicitor or barrister armed with pessimism is less likely to be caught off guard by such tactics.

Quality control engineers are tasked with ferreting out potential defects of a finished product to prevent various levels of financial, reputational, or legal harm down the line. This is done by creating benchmarks for product quality and testing products to test for statistically significant variations. A pessimist will be more likely to raise an alarm (and less likely to sweep under the rug) if a product is not up to par.

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Reevaluating Your Career Needs

The recent global COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to take a long, hard look at our values and priorities, especially where our careers and work-life balance are concerned.

With schools and daycares closed, we watched as parents scrambled to find a way to continue working from home while juggling children, and the desperation of those who couldn’t work remotely as they sought childcare.

We watched countless people receive their pink slip or furlough notice, felt their pain, and wondered about our own “essential” qualities.

The beauty of times of crisis is that they often are accompanied by stark clarity. What drives you? What are our priorities? What is necessary to you for survival? What is essential for your mental and physical health?

Spend some time with these thoughts and really evaluate whether your current career is meeting your needs.

  • Does your job allow you enough family time?
  • Do you even like what you do?
  • Are your stress levels through the roof?
  • Is there room for advancement that meets your goals?
  • Are you being paid what you’re worth?

Consider your needs and wants regarding your career, then really consider how your current job rates. Is it time to move on? Change industries? Or even go back to school?

If it’s just time to move on, you’ve done a lot of the hard work already. You’ve determined your minimum requirements for your next position, you know what you’re looking for. All you have left to do is to get your resume and professional social profiles into shape, update your network, and connect with a solid recruiter. Create a plan to manage your job search, complete with realistic schedules and attainable goals (that are within your control), and get started.

If you’re ready to change industries, we strongly recommend working with a resume writer (Hey! We know some of those!) to make sure your resume is working for you and not against you and a career coach as a resource to guide you through the process.

And if returning to school is on your mind, Minnesota State has some excellent recommendations for what to consider and where to start.

The Best Jobs for an Optimist

Best Jobs For An Optimist

One of the most common pieces of advice given to young people deciding what they want to do professionally for the rest of their lives is to “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” That is easier said than done depending on what a person loves to do, but it is made easier depending on the imagination of the person contemplating their professional future. Another thing that aids in the choosing of a career is choosing one that matches or compliments a person’s personality, rather than one that contradicts it. One big personality characteristic that people use to define themselves is whether a person is an optimist or a pessimist. Below are some career paths that are popularly known to be compatible with optimists.

Optimists typically bring a shine or energy to whatever job they choose. Many people bring their optimism to the profession of teaching, where it is sometimes vitally important due to the various challenges of being a teacher. A teacher sets the mood for their classroom, which has a big impact on the facilitation of learning. Optimistic teachers frequently radiate the optimism that is associated with young, fresh minds interested in learning and experiencing new things, back to their students. Even for students who don’t find learning as easy as their counterparts, a teacher’s optimism to help them pull through is typically remembered decades later by the thankful students.

Creative jobs such as writer or artist are also ripe for optimists. Frequent revisions, or outright rejections, are typically commonplace in such jobs but can be weathered or balanced by an optimistic person’s personality. When such people do succeed professionally, their optimism helps lay the groundwork for some truly remarkable final products. Optimists are also typically known for making up their own rules and thinking outside of the box, which is crucial for writers and artists.

Nurses are on the front lines when it comes to caring for all kinds of patients in the healthcare system. Sometimes nursing jobs can be difficult when things do not go in favor of a patient, but an optimistic nurse can power through to focus on being able to help the next patient. Because of the typically unexpected or dire circumstances that causes people to interact with the healthcare system, optimist nurses are a vital part of guiding patients through the difficulties related to their care so they can hopefully get back to their normal life as soon as possible.

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How to Build a Professional Network from Scratch

How to Build a Professional Network from Scratch

We all know the best way to land new opportunities is through our network, but what if you don’t have one?

When you’re just starting out in your career, it is imperative to take careful steps to grow and nurture your professional network. But where do you start?

Friends and Family


If you’re fortunate enough to have well-connected friends and family, be sure to take advantage of it! This is a great place to start because you’ll (probably) be more comfortable talking to these connections and they are truly invested in your success (meaning they won’t be offended if this conversation comes off as completely one-sided).

Grabbing coffee with your uncle who works in a similar field, or your mom’s best friend who works at your dream company and knows everyone, can give you insight into the career, the company, and how to navigate professional life. It can also lead to valuable introductions. That’s how you build your network. While you’re at it, don’t forget your friends who have maybe already started in the field!

Professor Mentor


If your degree program had you working closely with a professor who acted as a mentor, this would be an excellent source for growing your network. Ask for their advice on groups and organizations you could join to make professional connections – they may even introduce you to some previous students who are already out in the field.

Organizations and Events


Most people dread networking events, but they’re still around for good reason. Networking events, conferences, or gatherings for professional organizations are perfect venues for meeting and connecting with folks in your field and building your network.

Be sure to follow the three “be’s”: Be curious (ask questions, show interest in them). Be approachable (mind your body language). Be authentic (put your best foot forward, but make sure it’s your foot).

Social Media


Raise your hand if you have more than one friend who you’ve never met in real life. Thanks to a plethora of social platforms, our social circles have expanded beyond physical locations…and with so many options, there is something for everyone.

Spend some time engaging on your favorite professional social platform. Read articles and respond with carefully considered (and value-adding) comments. Engage in an authentic conversation over your professional interests and nurture the connection as it grows.

No matter how you decide to go about building your network, be sure to show genuine interest in the person you are talking to and their experience, interests, and viewpoints. Your relationships will be strongest if they aren’t one-way and your connection won’t feel used. With that said, don’t hesitate to be clear in asking for introductions! Just be sure to do as much of the work for them as you can – be clear about who you want to meet and why.

Building a professional network can be intimidating and quite stressful, but with practice and preparation you can become a competent networker.

You may also like:

Take Time to Reconnect
Get Out and Network
It's Not Enough to Say What You Do, You Have to Say Why You Do It

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What Is The Average Onboarding Process For A New Employee?

What Is The Average Onboarding Process For A New Employee?

An onboarding process is the first interaction a new hire has with a company after accepting a job offer during the hiring process. Sometimes the word orientation is used interchangeably with onboarding but to clarify up front, for the purposes of this article orientation is a specific event within the onboarding process. The onboarding process varies greatly from company to company. If you are currently or planning to be the owner of a company, you may be asking “what is the average onboarding process for a new employee?” You may want to formalize your onboarding process for the first time or you may want to see how your existing onboarding process measures up to other companies. Below are some answers you may find helpful.

First, a company’s onboarding process is a chance to make a good first impression on a new hire. From day 1 most new hires want to feel excited and validated that accepting the job offer was the right choice. A quality onboarding process can achieve those things while a lackluster onboarding process can plant a seed of doubt that will grow into forcing the new hire to re-consider their other professional options before spending too much time trying to get acquainted with a lackluster company. The beginning of the onboarding process should introduce the new hire to the company’s mission, vision, and values. The company’s leaders or other select people may give presentations to the new hire (or new hires) and tell them stories to get acquainted with the company.

Another important part of the onboarding process is having the employee make the appropriate choices with regards to benefit elections and tax elections. An HR representative typically walks new hires through the benefits (but company representatives generally do not give tax advice). They also give the employee any company-wide information that is mandatory for all employees, such as an employee handbook, access/review related to any ongoing training/compliance programs, and safety protocols. Eventually, the HR team will typically hand off to an IT person or team to get the employee set up with whatever hardware/software they need to do their job. Even in companies that are not heavily involved with computers, say construction, for example, employees are still typically given an email address and other technical resources at a minimum.

Lastly, the hiring manager typically goes through a number of policies, procedures, specifics related to the new hire’s specific role with the company. The employee is introduced to their work environment, if there are other members of the same team they are introduced, and the new hire begins to take inventory of everything assigned to them to make sure nothing is missing.

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How to Write a Resume When You Have No Experience

How to Write a Resume When You Have No Experience

While this year’s grads have been robbed of most traditions, there are some things no one can escape…like needing a resume.

Maybe you’ve heard the struggle that you need to have experience to get experience, or maybe you’re even seeing that firsthand. It’s true that the job search process is really setup for people who already have at least some professional experience, and this can make writing an entry-level resume a daunting task.

First things first: you need to know who you are.

Well, maybe not who you are, but definitely who you want to be. Every word on your resume needs to paint the picture of where you’re going. This is one of the few situations where an objective is appropriate – you can even get away with the “Objective” section, but the best practice is to incorporate your objective into your heading and summary.

Instead of…
Objective: To obtain an entry-level position in software engineering where I can work on new technology, contribute to the organization, and gain experience.

Try…
Software Engineer
Recent Computer Science graduate, passionate about new technologies and excited to make an impact.

Highlight what you have.

You might not have a lot of professional experience, if any, so lead with what you do have. Internships, even unpaid, should be detailed and provide context on environment, scope, responsibilities, and accomplishments (hint: talking about the results/accomplishments should shed a lot of insight on the responsibilities without writing a job description).

No internships? Again, go with what you do have. Project experience. A thesis. Every bit of relevant experience: list it.

No relevant experience? List your volunteer work, student organizations, and extracurriculars to show your skillsets and leadership skills. And by all means, put your degree to work by leading with your education and listing out relevant coursework.

Be choosy with what you include.

Your weekend babysitting job? Unless you’re looking for a career working with children, it’s best you leave it off. Stick to experience that is relevant to the industry or skillsets.

Another area to be choosy is your GPA. Only include it if it’s good. By good we mean over 3.5.

Your resume won’t be long, but it should be complete at this point. Now all that’s left is to proofread!

If you’re still struggling at this point, contact us to talk about your Student Resume. It’s also a perfect graduation gift!

Best Practice to Handle Sick Employees in the Office

Best Practice to Handle Sick Employees in the Office

Minimizing absenteeism is essential for businesses of all sizes, but especially for medium to smaller businesses because there are less people to fill in the gaps. One of the inevitable forms of absenteeism, though typically unintentional, is sick/illness because we’re all human right? Especially during flu season, illness can quickly get spread around due to contagions; at work, at home, or even at the grocery store. So how exactly does a company handle sick employees? What steps can a business take before flu season hits to prepare for it? What does a company do if it is told by an employee that they are sick but the company has reason to believe that is not true? These questions and more will be discussed in this article.

First things first, companies do not need to wait until flu season to hit to prepare for how to handle sick employees. Employers should have policies already laid out related to sickness/illness. These policies should be easy to understand, available for employees to read, and as comprehensive as possible. Because we know that everyone gets sick eventually, employers should give their employees at least some “sick leave” every year. Otherwise it lowers morale and makes it difficult to hire new, quality employees if there is an unrealistic expectation that no one is allowed to get sick. It is also helpful to have policies outlining short-term and long-term disability, because sometimes there are situations where employees get sick beyond just a common cold or flu. Whether it’s a particularly strong sickness, or heaven forbid cancer, having options available can help employees rest easy knowing they are covered. Just make sure to include in the policy when each form of disability kicks in, whether the benefits are paid for by the employer or the employee, consequences of abusing disability (or any sick leave), and any other miscellaneous conditions related to the disability/leave. Typically the HR department will make sure any policies related to sick leave/disability do not conflict with any applicable laws.

Sometimes there is a gray area where an employee is sick or recovering from being sick and can work but the risk of having them come into the office is that they will spread whatever sickness they have/had with other employees. That can obviously cause even more problems. If a business is in an industry where it feasible for employees to work from home, it would be a good idea to also have policies related to working from home in the same document as the other previously mentioned policies. By working from home an employee can still be productive but also not get anyone else in the office sick. Lastly, it can be helpful to include with these policies mention of whatever means a company will use to ensure sick leave/disability will be used responsibly.

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