Q. What’s so new about today’s job market?
A. It is global and almost immediately influenced by technology. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of highly educated low paid workers. To maintain an adequate standard of living, individuals must now compete on their ability to add value. That’s the new job market and its rules are different from what has gone before.
Q. Why are old methods of resume writing obsolete?
A. People were initially thought to start in the wrong place—with what they have accomplished. Smart job seekers start with what the employer wants. That provides context for your accomplishments—not vice-versa.
Q. Do I really have to stick to a one-page resume (recent graduates) and two pages for more experienced professionals?
A. Not at all. That standard was invented by the out-placement industry as a way of protecting clients from their own bad habits. Think of it this way: If you are comfortable that what you have to say is compelling to a potential hiring manager, use as many pages as you think necessary. That is a dangerous strategy because most of us are poor judges on what is of interest to the employer; don’t have a convenient way for finding out; and don’t have enough experience writing resumes to know the difference. When possible, seek expert advice.
Q. What do you mean, “Your resume is not about you?”
A. Back when companies were willing to hire people with a college degree and teach them the rest of what they needed to know, a resume could be about your credentials—where you went to school and the jobs you held. Resumes today need to be about what an employer is trying to accomplish by filling the job in question. In that sense, your resume is not about you, but about what others want from you.
Q. What is the best way to prepare for interviews?
A. If you have read Cracking the New Job Market, the best way is to use the same approach to interviews that you used to prepare your resume. Interviews are not about you. They are about what employers want from you. Figure out what that is and how your background links to their needs. Then practice presenting your credentials as responses to what an employer stated in the position description. Whenever possible use the same words the employer uses to describe what they are looking for in a new hire.
Q. What is the secret to negotiating job offers?
A. Two of the most important include: Knowing when to negotiate. Negotiate when you are in your strongest position—after a job offer has been made but before you have accepted it. Second, understand the parameters of reasonable negotiations. All of this and more is spelled out in my book.
Q. What do you mean that “the best way to reenter the job market is to never leave it?”
A. If you are forced to exit the job market, stay tethered by upgrading your skills, taking on volunteer assignments that allow you to practice your profession, and generally continue to show interest in any way you can. Reentry is easier if your skills are viewed as current and you have maintained connectivity.
Q. Is helicopter parenting really a good thing as you suggest?
A. There is an active and positive role parents can play with their college-aged kids to help with development during college–critically important years. Parental involvement with their adult children has gotten an undeserved reputation.
Q. Some parents report feeling uneasy about visiting campus and dealing with career related issues. What protocols are more appropriate?
A. Campus visits can be tricky. It is usually best to build a strong partnership with your student around issues of career management. If you are really needed, your student will let you know. If there is any doubt in your mind, do a check-in with your daughter or son to make sure you understand what they need. Encourage them to manage on their own with you in the background for advice and counsel as needed.
New student orientation is the one-time parents are expected to be on campus. It is important that you take advantage by of that time by visiting the career center together.
Q. How do you get straight answers on how much college will cost?
A. Even though most colleges and universities have cost calculators designed to answer that question the way in which costs are determined differs from one college to the next. The tendency of most parents is to underestimate their out-of-pocket costs. If at all possible speak with parents of upper classmen to get their sense of some of the unanticipated expenses they encountered.
Q. Should students work to get extra income while attending school?
A. It depends on the student and how much difficulty they might have adjusting to college life. Many parents prefer for students to get adjusted first to see if they can handle it. Most studies indicate that work study students earn higher grades and report having more free time than those who do not work.
Q. How will you know if your student is making real progress toward becoming job ready at graduation?
A. This is one of the things you should discuss with them well before college. It is helpful for both of you to understand what “real” progress looks like from year to year. It is one of the many reasons to form a partnership with your student and use it as a platform for on-going discussions.
Q. What is your main objective?
A. We have developed proprietary intellectual property that allows parents and kids to connect the dots between education and career. We believe students can no longer afford to graduate college and not be able to land well-paying professional jobs. Yet, that is exactly what is happening as nearly 50% of all Americans, according to the Department of Labour, with college degrees have jobs that do not require them. That percentage shapes our passion which is the career success of kids.
Our objective is to get our information into the hands of as many parents and students as possible at little or no cost to them.
Q. Why do you only sell your 1-1 job search services in 2-hour blocks of time.
A. This approach saves you money. You can get most of what you need from my latest book, Cracking the New Job Market. My job search consulting services compliment the book and bring your search to life. Most clients are able to get all they need with two blocks of my time.
Q. How do college athletic departments use your services?
A. It varies. But given evolving recruiting rules, there is a particular interest in our ability to connect the dots between an athletes major and associated career opportunities. When coaches visit with potential recruits in their home they are better equipped to communicate the commitment the institution has to the career management process.
Beyond that we also are asked to give presentations to parents during campus visit. Our focus is usually on the role parents play and the students matriculates through school. Feedback from these presentations has been overwhelmingly positive and a significant factor in the student’s choice of school.
Q. How are you involved with high schools?
A. At both the high school and college level we make sure we understand what the school needs to accomplish and then recommend programs and activities in response. At times this means meeting with PTAs and other community based groups. At other times in can include doing workshops for parents to help them become better career counselors to their kids.
We understand that high school counselors are overloaded. Our objective is to help them partner with parents. We believe that an educated well-informed parent is a counselors best friend.
Q. Do you work with non school affiliated community groups?
A. Yes, we have worked with local groups including AAU basketball, local chapters of the NAACP and other not-for-profit groups including A Better Chance (ABC).