Hiring Has Restarted. Here’s What You Need to Know to Land a New Job, Now; As employment picks up, millions will be racing to fill open roles. Moving to the front of the pack requires understanding how today’s job market works

One year since the coronavirus was declared a pandemic, there are glimmers of a sustained jobs recovery—and
that means new opportunities for prepared job seekers.

There are reasons to believe the latest uptick in job creation has more legs than similar spurts last summer and
early fall, even though Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned at The Wall Street Journal’s Job Summit
last week that the economy remains far from maximum employment .

The number of help-wanted ads returned to pre-pandemic levels in January, fueled in part by more high-wage
openings in technology and finance, according to job-search site Indeed. Weekly unemployment claims have fallen
to their lowest levels in months. There also are signs that economic activity is poised to pick up as more people
are vaccinated.

As hiring accelerates, millions of unemployed Americans will be vying for openings alongside workers jockeying for
new jobs and promotions. Yet, the pandemic’s impact on the job hunt is likely to linger: Workers will need to be
prepared for virtual interviews and onboarding . They may need to pick up new skills , or reinvent themselves for
the next phase of their career.

Whether the pandemic has left you unemployed, underemployed or gearing up for the next step, you will need to
stand out in the crowd. Economists, executives and career coaches offered advice to thousands of job seekers at
the Journal’s Jobs Summit. Here is what they said:
Get your résumé in front of a human

Before your résumé even reaches a recruiter, it will need to charm a piece of software. Adding certain
keywords—the terms most relevant to the job you’re seeking—is essential. For an engineer, that can mean listing
programming languages you are fluent in.

“Using those words that are going to be important to the recruiter in your résumé is a key first step,” said Scott
Bonneau, vice president of global talent attraction at Indeed. He recommends keeping a résumé to one page:
“Once your résumé makes it to a recruiter, they may only have a few seconds or a few minutes to spend on an
initial scan.”

After your résumé clears the robots and recruiters, it has a chance to gain the attention of hiring managers. Mr.
Bonneau said a succinct summary or objective statement at the top of your résumé can help. “That is your brief
but important way to give that hiring manager or that recruiter a contextualized overview of your experience with
respect to the role,” he said.

Paige Ross, senior managing director and global head, human resources, at private-equity firm Blackstone, studies
outcomes when reviewing résumés. “What have you worked on, and what were the results?,” she said.

Laura Fennell, executive vice president and chief people and places officer at financial-software maker Intuit, seeks
clarity: “Résumés can get super flowery and hard to understand, so real clarity around what you’ve done—I love

Work the system—but don’t try to game it
Though it is important to be strategic, overplaying your hand can backfire, Mr. Bonneau said. Key words are vital to
get your résumé noticed but cramming in phrases lifted verbatim from the job description or that make your
résumé hard to read won’t get you far. You may get past the applicant-tracking-system algorithm only to end up
alienating the recruiter who receives a résumé filled with key words that don’t genuinely reflect your abilities.
“It’s important to make sure that we focus on the relevant experience, the relevant words, but backed up by your
accomplishments and what makes you the best candidate for that role,” he said.

Timing is everything
Once a job is posted online the clock is ticking, and applications that come in at the end of the submission window
may already be handicapped, recruiters said. Sifting through applications and interviewing candidates begins
almost immediately, and there likely will be internal candidates as well as finalists for previous vacancies all
jockeying for the role.

Applicants should make thoughtful—but swift—edits to their résumé and cover letter, Indeed’s Mr. Bonneau said.
“A couple of days might be the difference between a job being there or being filled by the time you apply,” he said.
He suggests setting alerts on Indeed and other sites for when relevant jobs are posted. “Let the tools do some of
that work for you,” he said.

“Network, network, network”
Even as you’re working to get your résumé noticed, don’t forget networking . Jane Oates, president of
WorkingNation, a nonprofit focused on unemployment, recommends that as job seekers tap professional contacts
they include details that may elicit particular advice.

“When you’re networking with the people you know, don’t say ‘I’m looking for a job,’ ” said Ms. Oates. “Say instead, ‘I
really have great organizational skills. That has to help me get a job. Do you have any idea about that?’ Be a little
bit more specific.” Even if you don’t know anyone at the company or the field where you’re applying for a job, she
added, try making contacts at professional or trade organizations.

Share Your Thoughts
What are your best strategies for job-hunting in the pandemic era? Join the conversation below.
You don’t need to check every box

Some job descriptions may read like an unachievable wishlist—but that shouldn’t necessarily stop you from

“‘Preferred requirements’ or ‘nice to haves’ doesn’t mean that you have to have that skill set to apply for the role,”
said LaFawn Davis, Indeed’s group vice president of environmental, social and governance. She recommends
explaining in your cover letter how your skills can translate to the role you are seeking.

“You should go for it if you have most of those things because, I guarantee you, the skills that you have will work
out well in that role,” she said. “If you’re ready to get into something new, if you’re open to stretching yourself, you
can learn those other three to four things that maybe you don’t have right now.”

Write to Kathryn Dill at Kathryn.Dill@wsj.com
Hiring Has Restarted. Here’s What You Need to Know to Land a New Job, Now
Credit: By Kathryn Dill

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COBRA is free for 6 months under the COVID relief bill. Do you qualify?

April 17, 2021 at 7:31 am | Updated April 17, 2021 at 12:27 pm

By Madalyn AmatoLos Angeles Times

Americans who lost a job in the last 18 months are able to stay on or join their former employer’s health care plan for free through Sept. 30. That provision of the American Rescue Plan Act went into effect April 1.

More than 2 million people could benefit, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The way it works is through the federally administered program known as COBRA. If you work at a company with more than 20 employees and lose your job, you can remain on your employer-sponsored health insurance plan for 18 months through COBRA.

But under normal circumstances, COBRA can be significantly more expensive than employer-sponsored insurance because instead of your employer covering some of the premium, you pick up the tab. COBRA costs include the premium of your plan plus a 2% administrative charge, meaning that this year you could have been looking at monthly outlays of $635 if you’re single or $1,800 for a family, according to Thomas Rice, professor of health policy and management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

But COBRA is now free through the end of September. Here’s what you need to know.

Who qualifies?

Qualifying criteria for COBRA include any of the following: “voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in the hours worked, transition between jobs, death, divorce and other life events,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Under the relief bill, anyone is eligible who has involuntarily lost their job or health insurance or had their hours reduced within the last 18 months. A reduction in hours covers the business’s change in hours of operations, a shift from full-time to part-time status, if you take a temporary leave of absence or if you participated in a lawful labor strike.

Benefits are available to all those normally insurable under COBRA, meaning you and the family members who were already on your health plan.

Who doesn’t qualify?

Anyone who voluntarily left their job or chose to reduce their work hours. Also, if you were fired for gross misconduct, you and your dependents are not eligible for COBRA.

If you already have health insurance, whether through the government or your employer, you are not eligible to enroll in subsidized COBRA.

Also, beneficiaries who recently turned 26 (the cutoff age for dependents to stay on their parents’ health insurance) and former spouses who lost their coverage due to a divorce will be unable to receive free COBRA benefits but can expect lower costs “on Marketplace health insurance coverage thanks to provisions in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021,” according to the Labor Department.

How to enroll in COBRA

In general, employers have 60 days to notify you of your COBRA eligibility.

If you are newly eligible under the relief bill, your employer is required to notify you by May 31, said Grant Vaught, a Labor Department spokesperson. If your employer or the employment-based group health plan you were a part of do not notify you, the Labor Department recommends contacting your employer to request information on your eligibility.

If your employer waits until the May 31 deadline to notify you, you could miss out on two months of free coverage. So UCLA’s Rice said you should contact your former employer as soon as possible to avoid losing out on benefits. If you’re not in a rush, you have until July 30 to enroll.

For those already enrolled in a COBRA plan, subsidized premiums were set to begin April 1 and end Sept. 30. The provision does not extend your policy’s life beyond the normal 18 months, though.

In California, if your employer has two to 19 employees, you may be covered by Cal-COBRA. Cal-COBRA may also be able to extend your coverage if your federal COBRA plan has expired. For more, go to the state’s Department of Managed Health Care website.

What else should you know?

Although the subsidy covers the health plan’s premium, you will still be responsible for copays and deductibles.

If you sign up for subsidized COBRA, you can keep it past Sept. 30, but you will have to pay the premiums after that date. After the subsidization period ends, you may become eligible for Medicaid or coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, according to the Department of Labor.

Coverage under subsidized COBRA is not retroactive. If you were insured through COBRA before April 1, medical and premium costs incurred before then are not refundable, according to the Labor Department.

If at any point between April 1 and Sept. 30 you pay in full for COBRA but were eligible for free coverage, you may qualify for a refund or credit. Contact the plan administrator or the employer sponsoring the plan.

Other options

If you don’t qualify for or can’t afford COBRA, you may have other options.

—Plans on the Affordable Care Act marketplace may be less expensive than COBRA. healthcare.gov; (800) 318- 2596.

—Insurance benefits just for children may be available. insurekidsnow.gov; (877) 543-7669.

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How To Advance Your Career During The Upcoming Wave Of CEO TURNOVERS

The rate of annual CEO turnover soared in the years leading up to the pandemic, with some estimates as high as 17.5%. However, changes at the top slowed dramatically in 2020 as boards sought stability to steer their way through the global crisis and largely held on to the CEOs and executive teams already in place.

This dynamic has created a unique level of demand for fresh leadership perspectives and has set the stage for a frenetic pace of executive changes to take place over the next twelve months. These changes will be sparked by situations such as burned-out CEOs and other leaders deciding to seek new and more inspiring challenges, or boards moving out of cost-cutting and crisis mode, and in need of new leaders that can innovate and position the company for the future.

Even in early 2021, there has already been a string of high-profile CEO transitions announced, from Jeff Bezos at Amazon, to Ken Frazier at Merck and David Farr at Emerson Electric. In all three cases the new CEO will be coming from the internal ranks, a succession candidate who has most likely been groomed for the top job for years.

When a CEO is selected from the current leadership team, it may seem to indicate that the executives below will remain in place, but that is rarely the case. Any change at the top inevitably triggers a need to reshape the company’s management team. This could lead the company to seek out external talent to address areas the new CEO sees as a leadership gap, to swap out a few of the current leaders for the people with whom the new CEO has a stronger working relationship, or to replace critical talent that the company did indeed want to keep but who themselves opted to pursue another opportunity rather than recommit to new leadership.

It doesn’t matter whether the company selects an internal or external hire for a key leadership position. You can expect to see significant strategy changes that create new career opportunities following any senior executive transition, especially the CEO.MORE FOR YOULockdown Demand Drives Average U.K. House Prices To Record LevelsSalesforce Says ‘9-To-5 Workday Is Dead’ And Employees Will Only Come Into The Office One To Three Days A WeekThe Future Of Work Will Demand These 8 New Skills

And the career impact of a CEO change isn’t limited to those in the executive ranks only. Regardless of your level in the company today, you will likely be impacted by the massive wave of leadership changes coming soon. Even if your company is hoping to keep your entire executive team in place this year, it’s hard to rule out the likelihood of a key leader being recruited away for a career opportunity newly available in what is likely to be a hyper-charged job market for senior executives.

Now is the time to prepare for these changes because this rare and almost certainly chaotic game of musical chairs coming will have implications on your job. It may also present a chance to substantially advance your career if you are prepared to capitalize on the opportunities that leadership changes will create. Here’s what you need to know to start getting ready.

1. Practice paying close attention to the subtle differences between leaders. Shifting management styles and priorities can and should change your job description.

Whenever a new leader is announced in your organization, you should conduct a careful analysis of the leadership style, talent philosophy and business priorities between the old leader and the new one. Areas of the business where the two leaders seem to share the same approach and strategy may be able to remain mostly the same through the transition, as the new leader will be more likely to retain the same team structure and continue on with the goals already in place.

However, be sure to highlight areas of difference between the two leaders. These need to be explored more thoroughly to consider the implications on the current team dynamics and how the overall focus and priorities of those business functions might shift. For example, if the new CEO is more likely to pursue a strategy that favors growing more aggressively by acquisition, then the current finance, strategy, corporate development and HR teams may need to operate differently than they do today. Similarly, integrating the kind of companies your CEO wants to target may impact the daily operations and customer offerings for frontline jobs as well.

Figuring out how the new leader will change your company won’t be easy to do. There isn’t an exact science for this process and you don’t have a crystal ball that will help you know with certainty how things will play out in the weeks and months ahead. All you need to do now is to make sure that you are paying close attention to the transition and actively seeking a well-balanced view into who the new leader is.

If you work at a public or well-known company, make sure you are reading external articles that share an outsider’s viewpoint on where the new leader may take your organization next. You should also read all the email sent from internal communications about their vision, and if possible, listen to your company’s earnings calls yourself rather than reading an article or synopsis.

Your job might be several layers away from this new leader, but you will still be impacted by their style and what matters most to them. By monitoring the situation closely, it will help you connect the dots on how and where you and your team might contribute best to shifting business agendas.

2. Timing is everything. Get ready now so you can quickly pitch your best ideas and demonstrate your value.

If you are already aware of where your industry is heading next or what needs to be fixed within your organization so that it can evolve and thrive, then you will have a massive head start in anticipating what your new CEO’s vision or mandate from the board might be.

Does your company need to start investing more in research and development to keep up with their competitors? Does the company have the cash reserves needed to innovate and take risks? Is their approach to hiring and developing people growing the kind of talent that can take your company to the next level? Has the current leadership been truly visionary and willing to reshape unproductive norms or are they stuck trying to maintain the business model of the past? What parts of your company’s current culture hold them back from truly realizing the diverse and creative working environment you need in order to compete in today’s world?

These are the kind of questions you can begin exploring well in advance of a CEO transition. In doing so, you will be ready to quickly share well-thought-out ideas about how your team and your function can address whatever pain points exist in your organization early in your new leader’s transition.

This also gives you dedicated time to think through whether or not the problems you are best positioned to address in your current job are the ones that excite you most. If you discover that you want to help fix something that isn’t in your current job scope, this may provide the clarity you need to start preparing yourself for your next internal job opportunity. There may be relationships that you want to build in another area of the business, knowledge and expertise that you need to develop or small projects that you can take on now to gain more relevant experience in your new area of interest. By taking these steps prior to or early on in a CEO transition, you will be ready to raise your hand for a new assignment when the organization begins to shift, and new job opportunities open up.

Even if your organization happens to be one of the few companies that will not experience a senior executive transition this year, you won’t regret the work you put in to clarify where your company’s future business needs might match up with your interests. In the monotony of daily work, many of us forget to take the time to step back and do this important analysis. If the idea that a new CEO is or might be coming soon winds up being the motivation for you to take a step back and do a deeper career reflection, it will be time well spent.

Kourtney Whitehead is a career expert and author of Working Whole. You can learn more about her work at Simply ServiceFollow me on LinkedIn. Check out my websiteKourtney Whitehead

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How to Make a Potential Employer Fall in Love With You

Looking for ways to impress a potential employer? Want to make your résumé or job application stand
out from the pack?

This from an employer: “In the past few weeks, I’ve reviewed 480 résumés and applications for 16
different positions. I’ve interviewed 22 candidates and brought 6 back for a second, more intense round
of interviews. Believe me, I can tell you what rang my chimes!”

“Some of this advice may surprise you. Some may even make you angry because it doesn’t seem fair
or right to you. I can’t guarantee that all employers will agree with me, but why take a chance in this
employers’ market?”

Only apply for jobs for which you qualify. The “NO” pile of applications is increasingly made
up of people who don’t even remotely qualify for the advertised position. Why waste the time? If
you find yourself applying because it’s an area of work you might want to get into, or think you’d
like, don’t bother UNLESS you can make the stretch and fit between your qualifications and
background and the described opening. Otherwise, you are wasting your time.

Each application or résumé gets less than 2 MINUTES of time; usually it’s a 30 SECOND SCAN! You need to quickly qualify yourself as a potential candidate because the employer doesn’t have or take the time to do it for you.

Write a targeted cover letter that introduces your key qualifications and highlights your “fit”
with the position for which you are applying. Address the letter to the person conducting the
candidate search, when known. DO NOT presume familiarity and write, “Dear Carol.” Until
someone knows you, the name is “Ms. Landry.” Additionally, the cover letter needs to
specifically address the available position. Spelling and correct grammar do count. So does the
spacing of words on the page or email screen and an attractive overall appearance.

Target the résumé to the job. Would you like to know how many people are looking for a
“challenging opportunity to utilize my skills with a progressive employer who will provide
opportunities for growth?” Customization counts. Customization is everything when you are
looking at substantially different opportunities, too. Say, you are looking for a training position or
a marketing position. The identical résumé won’t sell your skills for either field.

Lead with your strengths. What makes you different from 40 other applicants? On your
customized résumé, start out with the background and experience most important for the
position you seek. The stage of your career is also highly relevant to the placement of
information on your résumé. If you are just graduating from college, lead off the first portion of
the résumé with your education and degree.

The key is to make it easy for the résumé reviewer to see that you are qualified for the
position. You want your résumé in that “YES” pile awaiting an interview!

These Are The 4 Work/Life Resolutions You Should Make for 2021

By Jessen O'Brien

Although only about 60 percent of us bother — and just eight percent of us achieve them — New Year’s resolutions are well-worth making.

Resolutions give us an opportunity to reflect on our lives; think about the changes we want to make; and set goals for ourselves. Whether or not we succeed in keeping them, resolutions help us close the gap between where we are and where we want to be.

Particularly after a year like 2020, which has been chaotic for so many of us, it can be invigorating to sit down and make a plan for what you want to accomplish in the year ahead. And if you’re stuck for ideas, you’re in luck: We sat down with personal and executive coach Keren Eldad for her thoughts on what resolutions you can make to improve your personal and professional lives in 2021 — plus, a tip on how to keep them.

Focus on yourself.

Feeling burnt out, stuck, or overwhelmed? It’s possible that “you are, at some level, unaware of what you really want and why you have made the choices you have this far,” Eldad says. “To that end, I recommend that anyone make personal development their 2021 resolution.”

If you want more clarity, Eldad suggests working with a coach; signing up for webinars on different areas of personal growth, such as how to get past imposter syndrome or grow your network; or trying the old DIY method of reading books and watching videos. If you’re looking to make a career change, Eldad recommends “Life’s Great Question: Discover How You Contribute to the World” by Tom Rath. As for videos, Eldad points out that experts such as motivational speaker Tony Robbins and research professor Dr. Brené Brown have talks available on YouTube you can watch for free.

Organize everything.

Here’s another reason you might be exhausted: There’s too much on your plate. “[Feeling] overwhelmed is primarily a time management issue,” Eldad notes. Being more organized can help you juggle the many demands on your time and energy so that you can approach each day with an attainable set of goals.

To help you manage your time better, Eldad recommends reading cleaning consultant Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” which will teach you to treasure the things in your life that spark joy instead of focusing on what you can do without, and “The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results” by entrepreneur Gary Keller and writer Jay Papasan.

Get your finances on track.

“I own my own business, and if there is one lesson I have learned in 2020 it is be financially prepared,” Eldad says. “Too many Americans and American businesses struggled in 2020. While we could not predict a worldwide pandemic, we can safely assume that there’s more uncertainty ahead.”

Having your finances in order gives you the flexibility and safety net you need to tackle whatever life throws at you. If you have debt, resolve to pay it down in the new year. Eldad also recommends creating an additional income stream “to hedge your bets and create more financial security.” One more thing to add to your financial checklist: Learn how to manage your money. Eldad suggests adding titles like “I Will Teach You to Be Rich” by Ramit Sethi and “You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth” by Jen Sincero to your reading list.

Adjust your mindset.

As for Eldad’s own resolution, she plans to focus on what she calls the “Spiritual Gym” this year: working with her own coach, reading books that inspire her, meditating daily, volunteering, and writing in her gratitude journal. In other words, the activities and exercises that help expand her mind and add to her happiness.

“I’m an executive coach, so, obviously, I do care about career goals and efficiency, performance, and productivity. But for me, mindset matters most — especially after a year like 2020,” Eldad says. “How we feel is how we lead.”

Make a resolution you can keep.

Most of us don’t even make it two weeks with our New Year’s resolution. If you generally struggle to keep yours, Eldad recommends being more reasonable in your goals, no matter what resolution you end up making.

“Resolutions should be focused and attainable. Don’t resolve to read 50 books in 2021 if you can barely make it through two,” Eldad says. “The key here is to make your goals as realistic and as enjoyable as possible.”

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Source: AnnElizabeth Konkel, INDEED

The holidays often seem to sneak up on consumers. In fact, hiring surveys show that over half of shoppers plan to buy gifts within 2 days of Christmas. Retailers, on the other hand, think about the holiday season year-round. Employers usually start their holiday hiring as early as September to deal with surges, as 21% of retail sales come during this time.

However, low sales leading up to the holidays can mean a significant blow to a company’s annual revenue. With the global pandemic still spreading and the U.S. unemployment rate the highest it’s been in nearly a decade, this year’s holiday season will almost certainly be different. Consumer spending was down 10% in the second quarter, while air travel in September was about one-third of what it was in 2019, in terms of traveler throughput.

WHICH MEANS – We are heading into a holiday season that will likely involve a lot less spending than usual. In turn, this may significantly impact retail businesses as well as their current and potential employees.

SO – what can we expect as employers begin holiday hiring? Here is whatIndeed Economist AnnElizabeth Konkel reveals from her research on seasonal job postings and what it can tell us about the current economic situation.

Typically, we see retailers amp up holiday hiring in September, with a rise in job titles that include “holiday,” “seasonal” and “Christmas.” This year we see a similar trend but progressing at a slower pace. As of Sep. 22, seasonal job postings lagged 11% behind last year’s trend.

Traditionally seasonal positions are being offered as permanent positions this year.

In Konkel’s words – “There’s no mystery as to why: It’s the coronavirus and the uncertainty of the economy.” According to Konkel, COVID-19 is impacting holiday hiring in a few major ways. First, there has been a general economic slowdown — you don’t need as many seasonal workers if people are shopping less. Second, people are now buying different things. For example, spending on home goods, such as food, furnishings and exercise equipment, is up, while spending on services that involve face-to-face interaction, such as transportation and restaurants, is down.

Lastly, online shopping increased 31% between the first and second quarter of 2020, as people began limiting inperson contact. This trend also explains why one area traditionally associated with season hiring is booming: Loading and Stocking

AnnElizabeth also discovered that many of the seasonal jobs that would typically be temporary are being offered as permanent positions this year. In 2019, 54% of seasonal jobs were temporary, but this year, only 37% of them are. This trend indicates that the job market is seeing a mild bounce-back from the huge job losses of the spring, rather than a true reflection of holiday hiring needs.

What does this mean for employers?
‘Work from Home’ is still one of the most common job search terms 6 months into the pandemic.

Just because things have slowed down doesn’t mean the holidays are canceled. Many employers will still need additional workers to bolster their seasonal operations.

However, the types of employers that need extra help may be different than in years past. Due to restrictions such as store capacity limits and concerns about the spread of the virus, shoppers may be less likely to purchase gifts that involve human interaction, such as spa gift cards, and more likely to buy items that can be used at home.

What’s more, “winter impacts the entire economy,” as AnnElizabeth says, and this is truer than ever this year. It will soon become difficult for some eateriesto offer outdoor seating in cold climates, and activities such as outdoor fitness will be much more challenging when temperatures become frigid. This will likely lead to fewer job postings in fields that have become weather-dependent due to the coronavirus.

What does this mean for job seekers?
While more workers are enjoying permanent employment in sectors previously dominated by temporary jobs, they’re also showing less interest in seasonal jobs when compared to previous years. As of September 22, searches for seasonal jobs were down 38% from the trends in 2019 and 2018.

But if unemployment in the U.S. is so high, why would there be fewer searches for seasonal jobs? Yet again, all signs point to coronavirus. Many seasonal jobs, such as retail and customer service, involve in-person interactions, triggering concerns about job seeker safety. Lack of childcare is another common factor keeping workers close to home.

As a result, AnnElizabeth explains that “job seekers are interested in remote work. Again, 6 months into the pandemic, ‘Work from Home’ is still one of the most common job search terms.” This year’s holidays will involve fewer meals out, less travel and more gifts to use at home. But they will still be celebrated, even if traditions are forced to change. Only time will tell if retailers and job seekers increase their postings and searches, respectively, as the season gets closer, or if this year’s holidays will just involve smaller swells in economic activity.

“Seasonal job postings” defined as those with one or more holiday-related terms in the job title, including, but not limited to, “holiday,” “seasonal” and “Christmas.” “Seasonal job searches” are defined as those containing one or more of the same list of holiday-related terms.


by Carolyn Greco – Sources: Psychology Today, The Muse, ZipRecruiter

Conducting a job search in the month of Halloween seems right to us because many job seekers find searching during these challenging times – a little scarier than usual!

Will you have enough to conduct an unpressured job search? How will you manage your search in the midst of the pandemic? Am I up to speed on technology and techniques that are needed now for interviewing? And all of the stiff competition now! These questions and more, especially this year, with all its uncertainty, can be scary.

SO – when it comes to complicated matters like intentionally planning what you want your career path to be, it’s important to step back a little.

Job searching. It’s simultaneously thrilling and terrifying. Thrilling – there’s a certain element of excitement that comes along with hunting for a new gig. It’s the optimism and promise of something better coming your way—that golden job that will make your entire life seem like a bed of roses.

Terrifying – when you aren’t feeling all tingly and excited about the prospect of a new position? Well, more often than not, you’re positively petrified with fear.

SO – let’s redefine the process and be the ones DOING the scaring instead of RECEIVING the scare!

Scare Off Threat #1: You’ll Have to Spend All Your Free Time Doing It
You’re right. This process can be quite time consuming. First, you need to sift through the many postings to find opportunities that actually fit you and your interests. Then, you have to dedicate time to putting together a solid application, which can include a resume, cover letter, references, writing samples, and more. And then, if you get an interview, you have to spend time prepping. You get the picture—it’s not just one click of a button.

But here’s the good news—there are ways in which you can optimize your time spent searching. Block off specific times in your week to sit down and focus solely on this process. And when we say specific times, we don’t mean “I will work on this over the weekend.” Instead, we are thinking more along the lines of “I will do this on Wednesday night from 7 to 9 PM.” And then at 9 PM – you’re free!

Once you choose times, assign goals to each session. These could be along the lines of:

  • Find three positions to apply to
  • Write cover letter for X position at X company
  • Revise resume

Without designated times and specific goals, you’re likely to just keep prolonging the process. Because admit it: If you just troll openings while you’re watching the latest episode of The Walking Dead, you’ll most likely get distracted by the creepy drone of the zombies. Additionally, you’ll probably spend many a minute scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Amazon.com. Choose your poison – you know you have one!

Scare Off Threat #2: You Aren’t Qualified for Anything
An open position grabs your attention, and you get really excited. But when you get to the list of requirements at the end of the page, that excitement quickly fades. I have to have how many years of experience? And be proficient in all of those systems?

You’re not the only person’s who’s asked yourself, “How am I supposed to gain experience if I can’t fulfill the requirements to get a job in which I will gain experience?”

But as Muse writer Sara McCord points out, “Some requirements are listed because they ‘sound good.’” And, furthermore, when companies are writing these blurbs, they often tailor them to describe who their “dream applicant” would be.

“But truthfully,” McCord says, “companies aren’t going to stall the hiring process until the dream applicant saunters in—solid, qualified applicants – like YOU! get interviews, too. So, if there is a dumping ground of desired skills at the end of the description, see them as bonus skills, and focus your application on all of the core skills you do have.”

But keep in mind, while you’re probably more qualified than you give yourself credit for, you’re not right for everything. As long as you’ve ruled all the “definite NOs” out and you aren’t applying to be, say, an orthopedic surgeon when you went to school for art therapy, apply away.

Scare Off Threat #3: You Won’t Stand Out
It can be awfully daunting to apply for a job when you know the recruiter probably already has a mountain of resumes on his desk. And it can be really easy to start doubting yourself and your chances of getting picked out of that pile. But if you’re trying for a position you’re qualified for, you deserve just as much of a chance as the other faceless applications—and maybe even more.

But here’s the thing —you’re not done once you hit “send.” It’s only just begun. If you want to stand out, you have to take action and go above and beyond. As Kat Boogaard, Muse writer and owner of Burst Communications says, “You should never hesitate to go the extra mile, show some initiative, and share some other materials that a potential employer might care about. Go ahead and send them a link to your portfolio or personal blog. Anything that helps them to get a better sense of who you are as a Candidate will benefit you!” (SEE THE HINES STORY ARTICLE!)

Going the extra mile doesn’t have to be fancy though. In fact, it can be quite simple. Jenni Maier, Managing Editor for The Daily Muse, has read many cover letters and says one quick and easy way to be noticed is with an untraditional cover letter opening, i.e., saying something other than “Hi, I’m writing to express my interest in this position”.

“It’s always a treat when a Candidate starts with a fun fact, a memorable anecdote, or a clever line. By doing this, you immediately have my attention.” TAKE NOTE THOUGH! Your creative kickoff should relate to the position in question to some extent. Completely random tidbits are fun but will leave the hiring manager feeling very confused. I’m really happy that you’ve tasted every cheese in Wisconsin, but can you remind me how that makes you a good software engineer?

There are many other ways to stand out, such as creating a portfolio of your work, thoroughly researching the company, and connecting with individuals at the companies you’re applying to – and by connecting we mean more than just pressing “Connect” on LinkedIn.

Scare Off Threat #4: You’ll Hate the Job You Get
When looking for a new gig – or your first one, there are bound to be many thoughts rushing through your mind. But what if I hate it? What if I’m absolutely miserable? What if this isn’t even the right field for me?

You’ll be spending a lot of time at work—if you aren’t happy there, it’ll start to negatively affect your whole life. So – you definitely don’t want to settle.
But before you let this threat make you turn around and run for the hills, consider the following:

Just as there’s no guarantee that you’ll love it, there’s no guarantee that you’ll hate it.

The only actual guarantee is that you have no idea how the future will pan out. One of the best pieces of advice we give is: Don’t make something a problem before it’s actually a problem. Pursue jobs you believe are a great fit for you. If the one you end up with turns out to be the worst ever, you can deal with it then.

Nothing is permanent – well, most things aren’t. If you end up absolutely loathing the company—guess what? You can start to look for something else. I know, going through the process again?

But that’s the reality—you’re not signing your life away. Simply learn the lesson from the experience – and move forward better equipped.

Research has shown that when you feel threatened you are less likely to be able to solve complex problems and more likely to make mistakes, so just perceiving a job search as a threat could be a major cause of failure in the process.

We at FACET are dedicated to help you break down big career transition concepts into smaller, more manageable bites, built on a strategy that reflects your values. Together we can create a mission statement on your ideal career path then develop strategic objectives to help move
along the path.

So – SCARE OFF those threats with increased confidence for a brighter future and focus on the OPPORTUNITY of this life event!

Your Body Language Speaks Louder Than Your Words

By Rick Christensen

A majority, 58 percent to be exact, of the message we convey is through our body language, this is known as non-verbal communication. Only 7% of our message is made of the words we use. In preparing for job interviews most of us concentrate on making sure we have the “right” answers to the questions we expect. Most of us don’t prepare to be sure that we are sending the right message with our body language.

Body language is a large indicator of our confidence and comfort level in any given situation, and it can make or break your chances of landing the job. Here are four common body language mistakes:

1. Eye Contact

One of the most important skills to master for a job interview is maintaining appropriate eye contact. In a 2018 CareerBuilder report, 67 percent of the 2,500 hiring managers surveyed said that failure to make eye contact was the top body language mistake job seekers make.

That’s not to say you should be intensely staring down at your interviewer the entire time. Start the contact when you first meet them at the initial handshake. Express warmth by smiling often and avoid making shifty eye movements.

2. Posture

No slouching – always keep a strong, straight back. Lean forward slightly from time to time to show interest. A strong posture will not only make you look more confident, it can also help you feel more confident and perform better in your interview.


3. Smiling

Succeeding isn’t as simple as just smiling. Smiling at the beginning and end of your interview – but not as much in between – will make you seem more approachable and likable. It’s all about balance. Do what feels natural and don’t overthink it. A simple trick is to try and match the energy or demeanor of your interviewer.

4. Fidgeting

Too much fidgeting will make you look anxious and nervous, which might cause your interviewer to question your assertiveness and interpersonal warmth. Avoid the temptation to fidget your fingers or, even worse, nearby objects! By embracing stillness, you can display the persona of a confident and capable leader. If you have a hard time doing this, practice answering questions while keeping as still as possible in front of a mirror.

Remember that in an interview you can say all the right words but if they are delivered in a slow, monotone while slouching and staring into space you will be regarded as less confident and intelligent than those that exhibit good strong body language.

PAM’S POINTERS – Preparing for a job interview

Pam Venne, MA, LPC
Certified Management Style Coach

Preparing for a job interview the right way is critical. It’s the difference between a friendly conversation and a new job offer.

If you are prepping for an interview, please keep in mind the five factors listed below:

1. Understand the format

Each different interview type will require you to prepare differently. There are several specific formats where you would need to adjust your actions. For example, if you had to prepare for a behavioral interview, you would be wise to spend the vast majority of your time focused on stories of past experiences. For a more traditional interview, you would want to focus more on job fit and collect insider information to ace the interview.

The easiest way to find out which format you will face is to ask your interview coordinator. Though to find out the real juice, like whether you will experience a problematic stress interview, try to speak with other job candidates who recently applied to this company.

2. Understand the medium

A long time ago, every job interview took place in person. These sessions occasionally may be held over lunch or dinner or at another specific location outside of the office. Still, you could at least count on a real face-to-face interaction. Today, people can get hired without actually meeting anyone.

During COVID-19, you most likely will be using SKYPE or ZOOM – so there are some extra steps you need to take. Do your homework to learn what to do for a phone interview and the realize that you will have to do things a bit differently to prepare for a Skype or virtual interview. Also, take the time to test out any technology that you will use before the big day. Nothing can shake up the nerves like a last-minute crisis!

3. Prepare answers for an interview

A select few can walk into an interview completely cold and deliver fantastic answers that guarantee a job. For the rest of us, it’s worth investing the time to prepare for an interview the right way.

To prepare persuasive answers, you have to understand what the employer needs fundamentally. Then, you shape your responses to fulfill those needs.

Once you know how to demonstrate this fundamental fit, you are ready to add all of the bells and whistles that impress and set you apart. Even the specific words you choose can make a difference.

4. Prepare yourself for the interview

A one-hour job interview is much more mentally and physically demanding than your average hour at work. However you slice it, that meeting is determining your future. You know it, and so does your body. Take the extra steps to make sure your brain is running at 100% peak performance.

Like an athlete before a big event, there are several steps you can take to prepare for an interview physically.

First, one thing you absolutely must do the night before an interview is sleep. Even if you don’t spend a single minute on real preparation, you are better off having slept than walking in as a zombie.

Second, be mindful of what you eat before your job interview. Certain foods will make your brain function better. Others can make you more nervous and sweaty. As a first step, avoid spicy and fatty foods and eat a sufficient amount of carbohydrates.

To feel your confident best, you also want to prepare for your next job interview mentally. In this case, you may want to take a cue from the theater. Actors are masters of getting themselves focused and in character. They focus on the role they will play and on communicating the core message of their character. They also visualize how the scenes will play out. As you prep for a job interview, use these same techniques to gain your mental clarity and focus.

5. Prepare others

Yes, you will be the only person in the interview. Yet, outside of that interview, there are still other people who must sell your skills. They are your references. Getting the best recommendations for your next meeting is very important.

If you haven’t spoken with these individuals in a while and updated them on your plans, set up a meeting or make a phone call. Tell them about the job and even remind them of relevant experiences that make you a good fit.

Remember, how you prepare for a job interview will, in large part, determine whether or not you land the job. The most qualified person doesn’t always get the offer. Instead, the person who makes the most compelling case and communicates effectively will!

The Secrets Of Decision-Making Amid Chaos

You can’t remove your company from the chaos of the moment, so the ability to be highly analytical, rather than emotion-driven, is more important than ever.


How do you define chaos? How do you recognize when you’re in the middle of it? More significantly, as a leader, what do you do about it? How do you continue to move your organization forward and drive to the outcome that you want?

Although you may have a definition of chaos and can visualize what chaos looks like, no two chaotic circumstances are the same. Chaos follows bad news as well as good and usually involves some form of randomness—people running around directionless or simply frozen in place. For example, the award of a contract requires delivery for which you may not be fully prepared (people running around) not unlike the loss of a contract that requires a contraction (people frozen in place), waiting for the next shoe to drop.

How about a global Black Swan pandemic to define chaos? The coronavirus is stretching our public health system to a breaking point. Our economy is in a free fall. Industries are being shuttered. Over 20 million Americans have applied for unemployment. We are experiencing unprecedented chaos.

The trouble, however, is that we did not see this chaos coming. History will assign blame to our failures to see the indicators and to respond more swiftly to this virus. However, what can we learn from it now?

The inevitability of chaos should sharpen our awareness. Sadly, the indicators, like those presaging the global coronavirus pandemic, can hide in plain sight or be discounted as unreliable. In today’s environment of “big data,” they may lack a discernible pattern not unlike a drunkard’s walk. As your corporate world collides with your private world, as you seamlessly blend your digital data inputs, chaos can seem the norm.

One thing is certain; chaos results in change.

So within this environment that increasingly is more chaotic, more random, often inexplicable, you exist; you thrive; you make decisions. And those decisions must be made under pressure, truncated timelines, high emotions, higher expectations and lower margins. Can you remove yourself from your environment? No—nor should you. However, if want to make decisions that are more antiseptic and less boiling over with emotion, here’s how.

• Know your team. Every leader has a kitchen cabinet, a coterie of advisors with whom you have a special and trusting relationship. Shine the light on them. Praise them in public, and they’ll speak honestly with you in private. Bosses don’t empower their subordinates; subordinates empower themselves. These folks will empower themselves and demonstrate routinely why they are your most trusted and able teammates. Napoleon had “directed telescopes,” trusted aides who went forward in combat (chaos) to assess his Army and the enemy. Find your directed telescopes and honor them.

• Delegate down. At the very moment a crisis hits, let go. Following a thoughtful process, you must delegate clear authorities to your subordinate leaders so they can act without hesitation. This does not suggest taking your hands off the controls. It does mean that those around you must know that they are authorized by you personally to act. Empowerment of the team in uncertainty is a must. Too many unknowns, too many decisions. Let your horses run.

• Control up. In chaos, keep the board informed. It’s non-negotiable and is ignored at your own peril. The board is there, at least in large part, to help, so assume they want to be part of the solution. You will be expected to own the outcome as you emerge from chaos, so own the message as you work your way through it.

As an intelligence officer in combat, I had to control the message, the assessment of the enemy’s capabilities and intentions, that my commander (my boss) received. My technique was to brief my boss personally, in private sessions with key advisors, multiple times during the day. I chose not to delegate the messaging my boss received. The significance of that assessment could not have been more consequential. Soldiers’ lives were at risk.  Lives may not be in the balance in the chaos you experience in business, but keeping your boss informed is no less important. Control the message. Own it.

• Show up. Very simply, be visible. In chaos, your people want to see you. From you, they expect calm, to get solid guidance, and to know you care. You must never undervalue the healing effect of the leader “in the trenches” with a team that’s “under fire.” In the military, it’s known as the “point of decision.” Good decisions come from good leaders who have a good view of the environment and that means being where the action is. Usually, that’s up front. Know where your “front” is and get there before everyone else, intellectually and physically.

• Prioritize. First things first. In chaos, prioritization is critical. There’s already enough energy, so do everything in your power to focus it. When I was the senior intelligence officer for the invasion of Iraq, the missions were limitless: What is the status of Iraqi chemical forces? Where is Saddam’s senior command-and-control headquarters? Where is Saddam himself, his Top 55? Will Iraqi citizens accept coalition forces?

The intelligence requests came from every unit in our command and many outside our command.  I established a priority task list to answer these requests based on a single criterion—to keep “first things first.” My priority task was to provide the Marine forces detailed intelligence of the southern Iraqi oil fields, the first objective of our invasion.  If we did not get that right, there was little chance of overall mission success. The Marines’ mission was to secure the oil fields and ensure Saddam could not destroy them as he did in Kuwait a decade earlier. Seems like an easy decision but the intellectual competition pulling us in other directions was crushing. We understood our priority, remained focused and stayed deaf to criticism.

Recognizing chaos is less important than recognizing that within chaos good decision making is essential. Too much is at risk especially when emotions on your team are raw.  Remember, your boss and the market have votes in the outcome of your efforts.

While competitors pray for your demise and some on your own team may anticipate it, quiet your critics. Be calm, be focused, stay prepared