Archive | career counseling RSS feed for this section

How To Evaluate a Job Offer

5 Mar

Article Title: How To Evaluate a Job Offer
Author Byline: Anna Mathieu. Anna Mathieu’s experience as a recruiter and as a seasoned sales & marketing professional give her a winning perspective on communicating Redfish’s specialized recruiting services. Her evangelization and branding continue to drive bottom line results.
Author Website: http://www.redfishtech.com/about_us/anna_mathieu.php

Congratulations! You’ve received a job offer. Now what?

First of all, ask yourself if you want this job. Hopefully you spent the time up front to evaluate the company and the position prior to pursuing it. Sometimes things happen faster than you expect and you haven’t fully explored the opportunity. There are a lot of important aspects to research and consider when you are evaluating an employment opportunity. The more you know before the offer, the better position you’ll be in.

A company’s values, vision and corporate culture are going to fundamentally affect you on a daily basis. Does the company you are evaluating motivate and speak to you? Do you feel like it will be a fit with your personality and work style? Just as dating someone with a fundamentally different belief system would be a great challenge, so will working for a company where you do not buy into the mission and vision.

What about the size and hierarchy of the company? Are you more apt to want to wear several hats and take broad responsibilities? Do you want a close working relationship with top management and the ability to see the impacts of your personal contribution? If so, a smaller company may offer you the best fit. Are you focused on training or mentoring programs and a clear career path? Do you have specialized skills that you want to focus on specific endeavors? If so, a larger company may be for you.

Location, hours, and flexibility are also important considerations. If you have to relocate, you’ll want to evaluate the area, cost of living, housing options, and community amenities. Will you need to commute? If so what are the costs and time required? Is there flexibility in terms of hours worked in order to avoid traffic? Can you work remotely for some portion of the week? Will the position require travel?

The company’s background and tenure can be discovered via press releases, newsletters, and annual reports. Take the time to inquire about the company by tapping into professional networks, alumni career offices, current employees, and even competitors. Conduct a search on the internet or pick up the phone and ask the front desk who you might speak with. You’ll want to consider the company’s products & services, market position, industry, age, size, employee turnover, and financial condition.

Now back to that offer you received, is the compensation package in line with expectations? Is the salary competitive? What is the overtime or compensated time off policy? What are the benefits? What does the overall package entail? How does the compensation package compare to the industry? Again, the more research you’ve done upfront, the better you can evaluate the terms you are being offered.

The bottom line probably does not boil down to one number. Salaries may be structured to offer an equity piece or bonuses. Flexibility, training programs, promotion opportunities, salary/performance review, vacation, insurance and other perks are an important part of the overall remuneration you will be receiving.

If you choose to negotiate the pay or benefits, the more research you have done, the better you can present your case. There are many sources for salary information by industry and role such as salary surveys by professional associations, the National Association of Colleges, and websites like Indeed and Monster, or the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Speaking with people in your professional network within the industry, consulting employment ads, and discussions with external recruiters can give you a lot of insight into the current compensation trends.

Finally, remember that a written offer letter is often regarded as a contract from a legal standpoint. It is important then that this offer covers any aspects that are important to you and reflects the conversations that lead up to it. If official company policies are codified, ask for a copy to review.

Typically you only have a couple days to review and accept a job offer. Be prepared, know what is realistic as well as what you want and where you have room to negotiate. Good luck in your new job!

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

How To Disguise A Checkered Work History

15 Aug

Article Title: How To Disguise A Checkered Work History
Author Byline: Cathy Eng, CARW, Owner of Resume Rocketeer, Inc.
Author Website: http://www.resumerocketeer.com

Many of us have, even through no fault of our own, had a bumpy work history. This may be due to lay-offs, illnesses, temporary contractual work, staying home to raise children, career transitions, or a myriad of other situations. You may have perfectly legitimate reasons; however an employer may not understand why you have short tenures or gaps between jobs – they just want the best candidate for the job.

But have no fear! There are some ways to format your resume so that employers notice your excellent skills and qualifications rather than circumstances in your past. It starts with functional formatting, which means bringing your skills to be beginning and expanding on them, and moving your simplified work history to the end, which downplays your work chronology.

How exactly does this work? Here are the parts of a functional resume:

Introduction: Start with a career summary that gives an overview of your strongest selling points, including unique skills, certifications, corporate awards, etc. This immediately catches the eye of the reader and draws them in. You may also choose to include a list of relevant keywords and a personal branding statement in your introduction.

Summary of Skills: This is where a work history might traditionally go. However, your strengths lie in your skills rather than your work history so displaying a detailed, categorized breakdown of those skills is a great use of space. For example, if you’re a retail sales manager, you may choose to break your skills down into sales and marketing, leadership, retail planning and purchasing, and operations (HR, accounting, etc.). It’s important to be specific here; listing generic skills wastes space and bores readers.

Work History: Use this section to simply list your job title, company name, location, and dates of employment for each job you’ve held. Don’t draw attention to this section by expanding on each job. You may also choose to leave dates off of positions you held more than 10 years ago as they lose relevance after that amount of time and indicate candidate age.

Additional Sections (education, certification, affiliations, etc.): It is important to place these features carefully according to your situation. IT professionals may choose to list their technical certifications at the beginning of the resume. Recent graduates may opt to do the same with the education section. Either way, I would recommend leaving one of these sections at the end of the resume so as not to stop with your broken work history, which ends the resume on a sour note. No matter the order you choose, be sure your skills and qualifications outshine your job chronology.

While this method is a great alternative for those who need it, it is by no means perfect. Recruiters and hiring managers are well aware that candidates use a functional format to hide questionable work circumstances. Therefore, it is important to be prepared to address your work situation. But don’t dwell and give excuses; keep it positive and focus on your skills rather than your past. And remember, you are not defined by your work history!

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.