Does Job Longevity Really Matter?

This is a question that I had to do some research on because of my background.  I had a job in high school at a retail store.  This was my first job and the manager there took a chance that even without my experience, I would be able to do the job well.  Throughout college I had a few jobs and did a summer internship.  After graduation, I got one of those “big girl job” as an assistant manager at Target.  Although on my resume I have it listed for over a year experience (the internship i did with them plus the extra three months I worked there full time) it really was only two summers and a few college breaks worth of work.  Mid summer, I couldn’t take that job and quit.  A decision I still stand by, but I quit none the less.  tumblr_mhoe23akmv1r8mmrfo1_500

After much job search and applying for dozens of positions (and I mean dozens, like 30-40 jobs), I finally landed in education in the HR department.  I had no experience in HR but they took me anyway, believing (just like I believed) that I could handle the stress of the job and do a good job.  Well, after being there for a year, my position got cut.  I planned on staying in that particular job for a while, but I still had to move on.

Now, at my current job, I have been there for about 6 months and I again do not plan on going anywhere.  However, after have pretty much every position before this that has believed in my ability, it has made me question the importance of longevity.  So now when I search through resumes to bring talent to my company, I very much look over longevity in a job.  I’ve had supervisors ask me “do you know why they aren’t working now?” or “why did they skip around jobs so much?”.  I never have an answer for them.  Dates on a resume is something I kind of overlook because clearly if you can;t tell about, I’ve got a few dates scattered around.  So why does it matter?

Turns out job longevity is totally a thing that employers are looking for. Dates on your resume are suppose to stand out for a reason.  It can prove to an employer your commitment your current job, which will most likely mean longevity in a new job you will be looking for.  I think that makes sense.  It would mean that you can stick it out though thick and thin, the good times and the bad.  Most employers get it, that not everything will go smoothly everyday at your job.  But they need to know that you’re not going to bail or 04-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-768x576shut down when the going gets tough.  If you work somewhere for a few years, it shows them that your able to stick to something.  Employers simply cannot invest in training and paying someone (even if they are the most qualified for the job), just to have then quit and start the process all over again.

 

I think a better way to look at this is to think of the opposite.  I’ve had such a luxury really to have people invest in my skills with having less than 1 year experience for my jobs that I really have to think of an extreme opposite of longevity to really get the point.  If a waitress has 13 years of experience overall but has had 2 jobs within a year on average, that’s 26 jobs that a person has had in that time frame.  You’re looking at about 6 months from this waitress.  She might nail the interview and can interact with customers like there is no tomorrow.  But after 6 months of working there is a good chance she will move on.  It’s a lot about patterns that your resume creates that alludes employers to believe that you will or will not stay.  It takes a solid 1-2 months to have someone completely trained and comfortable working independently for most jobs (others of course can take much more or less time). Our waitress example means after time and money from other waitstaff and managers to train her, your only looking at about 4 months of profitable work she will commit to before ducking out of there.

Now I can clearly see how longevity can prove a dedicated employee.  I was getting myself so caught up in thinking people are like me, they either really really don’t like a job or they get cut from it.  More benefit of the doubt, then holding people accountable for their actions.

So of course I must ask myself, how long is considered a safe time frame?  I also asked this in college during a senior year job seminar.  The response that I got then and still stand by is a few years.  The woman that spoke about this hated her first job.  She truly hated it, but she said that she stuck it out for the first year, and actually found another opportunity from a co worker because she stayed dedicated to the position.  Her ability not to give up really pushed her to a better place.  Furthermore she recommended that if you like your job, stay in it for a few years and see how much you can excel.  Maybe you’ll find that your supervisor will give you more responsibility the longer you are there, meaning more experiences to add to the resume.

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My take away from all of this….. it’s okay to move onward and upward, but I want to take my time now to absorb everything I can at my current job.  I want my resume to reflect a pattern of dedication, growth and creativity.  I can accomplish that right where I am.  At the end of the day, achieving those things now, will make me happier at my job during my daily grind.  No, I don’t plan on going anywhere but it’s good to keep this in the back of my head and remember my drives.

 

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#KBK

Job Hunters Guilt

I am not sure if that is the technical term for this subject or not but it’s important to discuss. Are you in a position where you’re unhappy with your current job or career path? If you said yes keep reading.  If you said no, this might be a waste.  If you’re on the fence, go back to some earlier posts about pullers and core values.

Sometimes we get into situations where leaving our current position is harder or more stressful than chasing after things we truly want.  

Quick example: I LOVED working in education.  But the job required me to be reachable on a NY state civil service test.  I didnt get a high enough score and I was cut from my position.  It sucked a lot.  And I cried,  a lot. But it dawned on me during all of this boo-hooing that I was so upset because I was getting so comfortable.  It had crossed my mind that maybe working for a school is what wanted to do for a living.  Just maybe it was what I wanted.  I was doing a decent job of convincing myself of that as well. Comfort can be a great thing, but had I not lost that job, I don’t think I would have applied for this new job that I now have.  And let me tell you, the perks and new experiences that this job has to offer is out of this world. I like how this guy explains the need to being uncomfortable.  
Not only would I not have applied for this job but I’m not sure about any job in the near future, let alone graduate school.  I hadn’t even begun to think about courses.  Now I’m gearing up for the fall 2017 online semester. 
Luckily I lost my job, because I can tell you that I was feeling guilty for leaving such a nice place. Nice people, work, days off, benefits. You name it, they have it.  Employees are treated really well there! But at some point I would’ve had to leave in order to fulfill my career goals.  

We can not let the guilt of leaving great people or work behind get in our way.  Pretend you were in my situation, would you want to have a job before losing it, or be out of a job scrambling for work.  Build your career, and look out for yourself.  It’s worth it. 

The best advice I can offer, is to talk to your boss now.  Even if they are the meanest, most rotten boss.  You’ll always be a good employee for keeping an open relationship with your boss.  This way he knows that he will need to find someone to replace you and can start thinking about the change.  It’s like giving him notice that you’ll be putting in your two week notice.  Communication is most definitely key for this task. Good luck out there.  

How Everything You Do Can Help Your Career.

So in one of my previous posts I talked about Pushers vs. Pullers.  Click here to learn more.  I mentioned how I want you to create as many pullers for yourself as possible.   A reader of mine brought to my attention that I didn’t exactly tell you all about plowing the way for your future and creating pullers for yourself.  So let me tell you about some of my pullers:

  • After leaving Target, I took a job in Human Resources knowing that it was potentially a temporary position.  I had to take a New York State Civil Service Exam and score within the top three people to keep my job.  I knew I would have about a year in the position before I would discover the results of my test.  So while I of course wanted to keep my job, I worked my butt off for that entire year (partially) assuming that I wouldn’t be keeping my position.
    • Why it is a puller: Even though I didn’t get a high enough score on the test, my supervisor fought for me.  He tried to see if I could keep my job.  Furthermore, he found me a short term position that would give me some work until I found another position. Not to mention, both of my supervisors are great professional references. I figured that if I worked really hard, my supervisors would help me in my next steps after my position ended.   Don’t get me wrong it sucked losing that position, I loved what I did.  I loved it so much that I offered to help train the person that took over my position.  On the other hand, I gained so much from that position.
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Do work like a boss, and like your Boss
  • My sophomore year of college I took a class which studied older adulthood and the Baby boomer generation that was/is entering that stage.  I had the opportunity to take an additional credit through the class by volunteering at the local nursing homes.  I really wanted that extra college credit and I knew I would be helping the local community.  bingoWell, I quickly learned that playing BINGO in the nursing home was fine, I could NEVER (I can’t stress that word enough) work with people in the nursing home.  They were nice people but it is a field or cohort I couldn’t work with.  I didn’t hate it, but it didn’t love it.
    • Why it’s a puller: It taught me what I didn’t want to do in my future.  Instead of devoting time looking into positions in Hospice or with local nursing homes, I stayed well away from that area.  Kudos to those who work in that field, but it is not for me.  Volunteering pulled me to try something completely different from older adults.  Which is how I found an internship with the Career Services center and LOVED (can’t stress that enough either) it.

Take a look at Krystal-Bella’s post here.  Krystal-Bella has an inspiring story of how she is turning something difficult from her life and turns it into a puller by sharing it with others.  Not to mention she works a full-time job and still creates blog and vlog posts all the time.  Her story is a great example of how you can turn anything into a puller.  Krystal-Bella, thank you for sharing! It’s not always what life gives you but how you make life work for you.  

 

 

Resume Writing: You’re Doing it Wrong

I have waited to talk about this topic because it is not the first thing you should be thinking of when applying for a job, going to a career fair, or what have you.  While working in career services in college I saw so many students come in for assistance with their resume.  They often didn’t have a draft at all.  We think the first stage to a career is a resume.  It’s not.  Let’s take a look at a few steps to take in writing a good resume.

  1. In a previous post, I discussed  values.  Acknowledging your values is really the first step to writing a good resume.  If you don’t know what you believe in, or what you enjoy doing, how do you expect to use a resume to build your career?  You first have to have an idea of what experiences you want to get involved in.  If you’ve already written a resume and think you are past this step, you’re not.  In every expeience you encounter, you will find that you can learn about your core values.  Those values will drive you to where you want to be.  A key factor in resume writing is to know yourself and to know what you are all about.  If you are going to sell Tupperware to a consumer you’d want to be sure you know the products you sell, right?  Same principle applies here as well.  You’ll be taking on the task of selling yourself during the application process and at any interview, so it is best that you know who you are and what you value in life.  Some of my values are helping people and being able to have a balance between work and personal time.
  2. A good resume talks about all of the great things that you have done in the last several years.  When I wrote my first resume, I sat there with a  blank word document and thought to myself okay, what have I done with my life?  This is the absolute worst way to create a resume, yet it is how so many of us begin our document.  When we have an experience, such as volunteering or a first job, we should be writing down those experiences on a piece of paper or a “resume template” as I will call it.  A resume template can be very simple, as it is just a list of activities or experiences you have actively participated in.  They don’t have to be really intense or necessarily related to your career, but you have to have participated in them.  Put your resume template in the notes section of your cell phone.  The point to doing this is to have a reference of some kind so that you do not sit with a blank stare asking yourself what you have done in your life.  A good example for me is countless amount of volunteering I did freshman year of college.  It was required in the dorm I lived in, but I never thought to write all of those activities down, like working with children at a local preschool.  Since I value working with people, it probably would have been a GREAT item to remember when writing my resume.
  3. This one gets a little trickier as it begins to get to the core of resume writing.  That resume template I mentioned, let’s add onto it.  When you are at these activities, clubs, jobs, etc. also write down some things that you do there.  Again, this is easiest and works best if you jot them down during the time period that you are working on them.  In my most recent job, my boss asked me one day to conduct an exit interview for an employee as he had to take care of an emergency somewhere else.  He trusted me with the task rather than cancelling on the employee.  I only had to read off a list of questions to the employee and write down their answers verbatim.  It doesn’t mean that my boss trusting me with this task wasn’t important.  It was a perfect example of something to add to the resume template.

With those three key factors now in your head, you can have a much better, goal-oriented resume in mind.  If you have to go back and brainstorm some experiences and what you did there that is fine.  But going forward, get yourself aware of how your experiences can assist in building your resume.  If you recognize that you were able to contribute to a team project big or small, at work or not, write it down.  I promise it will help you when you finally sit down and put your resume together.  Which you are probably dying for me to show you how to do next.  Instead, go ahead and just do a google search of resume templates.  Here is a website I found that is pretty decent.   You’ll notice that resumegenius.com advertises to have a resume in minutes.  They do this because they’re assuming you’ve taken the time to think of your experiences already.  That is why steps 1-3 above are crucial in your writing.

You can find websites like these for free, or just browse some google images of resumes.  Try a google search of “resumes for (blank)”.  Fill in the blank with what kind situation you are in like resume for college/graduate student or resume for work experience.  I can go through and tell you what have learned about writing MY  resume.  You can copy it even, but that doesn’t set you apart from me, that makes you more like me.  In a world of trying to set ourselves apart to get a job and build a career, do you really want to look like me?  I really would hate to tell you that there is the ideal way to write a resume, because that’s such an assembly line approach.  I am happy to answer specific questions you have about your resume/experiences though.

Recent College Grads, Pay Attention

While I want anyone to be able to get the most out my blog posts, this post is especially important for college graduates within the last few years.  I, along with all of you have spent the last 13+ years in school.  While the structure changed over the years, someone still stood in front of us and taught us something.  The job market is a whole different playing field compared to school.  We must quickly become adaptable to what is required of us now.  A career will test you in other ways than a grade on a piece of paper.  Tests begin to happen your first day upon walking into the company, starting with you first impression (some can argue that your first test in at the interview).  You’re being analyzed by your co-workers and boss the minute you walk into the door, making your every move a test of being successful.  While I believe that experience and education are contributing factors in getting a job, it is those skills not listed on your resume that make you a better individual in the work place.  To pass tests such as the first impression, you need to be yourself.

You probably heard in college all about gaining experience and keeping your GPA up. While those are great things to achieve, they are items that you can add to your resume.  A great resume can get you starting in career building, but the resume alone will not get you past the interview.  Interviewers have seen what your capable of on paper.  Now, they will want to get to know you a little. Answering questions by repeating your resume or cover letter back to interviewers will not get you a position.  You have to know yourself and what kind of worker you are/want to be in order to show your potential company how you can contribute to their business.

Check out this great TEDTalk that discusses the difference between recorded success and unrecorded success.  It is a really great explanation to what you can to  help you become successful.  Go Steve Jobs (again!)

While this video is a tad lengthy, please go back and watch the whole thing (skimming through doesn’t help you).  She does such a  great job talking about adversity and using your adversity to become successful.  Things that we have been taught in interviewing to get the position aImage result for interview memesre not what interviewers are looking for.  You probably have heard before about taking your strengths and claiming them as weaknesses.  Example: an interviewer asks “what are your weaknesses?”, you reply with “I’m a perfectionist, and that gets in my way of completing work on a deadline sometimes.” That line (while true for some) has been widely overused and employers see it coming. Do not use the typical answers just because they are typical.   True adversity and truly making the lemonade out of your own lemons are the skills an employer wants in their company.

Education and those various odd jobs have provided us with great experiences can contribute to the resume.  But just think about some of the stuff that you’ve learned that you wouldn’t know how to put on a resume.  I believe that I’ve got a great resume.  It outlines some key positions that I have had and related experience to my field.  That really isn’t all who I am.  My co-workers have complimented me in my work, but it has never been because I can “perform various duties as assigned by supervisor”.  No, they like me for my positive attitude and for being invested in my work just as they are.  I did not learn to get a positive attitude from studying the Fundamentals of Gerontology at 9pm the night before the exam.  Having a positive attitude is just who I am.

The best question I have been asked in an interview is “tell me something you want people to know about you that isn’t on your resume”.  I still love this question because it drives home the point of this post.  Employers are huge into getting to know a potential candidate they will have to invest resources in.  Ask yourself this question; see what you can come up with.  Please understand that a good resume and great interview skills are part of getting a job and building your career.  You also need to make sure your not getting caught up in articles that say “do this and not that to land the job”.  Building your career is not an assembly line.  While your mentors, parents, professors, etc. have given you great advice in advancing in your career, remember who you are.  Be yourself and show people how great you are.

 

P.S. if you are curious to what my answer is  to the interview question, comment with your responses to this question and I will tell you want I said.  Let me know what you would say, I want to learn more about all of you.

Knowing your core values

I took a class in college that had to do with job hunting, starting from the basics.  Interests, hobbies and values being the very first steps we all should be taking in order to find a job that we will enjoy.  There is a lot to discover about yourself and your needs in a job that will make you a better job hunter.

I walked into an interview not too long ago with the hopes of landing “the job” and working in a field that I had no experience in. The position was in the educational field which I had been working in for almost a year and I wanted to sell to them that I knew the field.  I thought that I could show my interviewers that I would be hard working, a quick learner and that I wanted to take on the challenge of having no previous experience in business/accounting.  I prepared for the interview as much as I could.  I viewed their LinkedIn profiles, researched the company and visited the job description NUMEROUS times.   One of my references even endorsed me with this company, making me think I had the upper hand to other candidates.  The moment I got called into the interview room, I should have turned around and left.  It didn’t feel right from the get-go, but I wanted to make the best of this interview and I wanted to feel accomplished by landing “the job”. My interviewers asked their questions, I answered and did my best to offer the best responses to their repeated questions.  It felt like we were all just going in circles.  They were asking the same questions and I was giving the same answers.  There were long awkward pauses and it felt…. weird.

As the awkward pauses became increasingly difficult to ignore, I thought Why is this going so poorly?  Why are we still doing this?  I don’t think I want to work here.   I had wanted a job so badly that I almost overlooked the fact that this really wasn’t what I wanted.  I didn’t want to disappoint my referencer by not getting the job.  I didn’t want to disappoint my family for not making a good living with a good paying job.   But my family will never stop loving me and this is not going to disappoint anyone.  As long as I am happy, everyone else is happy.  Duh Kendra.  I almost threw my core value of enjoying my job out the window, in order to have a job and to please others.  The “others” being unrealistic thoughts that I created in my head.

If you need a job, then you need a job, but that experience for me truly would have been settling when I aspire for something better.  To be happy and get to where you want to be, you really want to understand yourself first.  I know that I want to love what I do for a living and that I want to help others.  Working with money and big numbers wouldn’t have matched either one of those criteria for me.  For you, it might have matched your criteria, and that is great!  You should know these things about yourself before you even begin to apply for any position though.  Some things to consider about yourself:

  • What motivates you (i.e. money)
  • Do you want to be in an office setting
  • What kind of leadership do you seek in a boss
  • Do you like working as a team
  • How do you feel about conflict in the workplace
  • How much free time outside of work do you want/need
  • Are you a people person. Why or why not
  • What are your hobbies/interests

For some of these bullet points think about the polar opposite as well.  If you can pin point what does motivate you, also try to pinpoint what does not motivate you.  You might be able to avoid a situation like mine, where I walked right into a place that wasn’t going to motivate me.  I suggest writing these things down for yourself to see a visual of these values.  You might not refer back to them, or you might hang it on your ceiling and look at it every night.  Regardless, it is always a good tool to know yourself and what you’re all about.  When you fill out an application you can then convey your needs better.  Then when you get to that interview (because you can get there) you can effectively communicate why you are the best fit.

I recommend anyone to take this step to evaluate their “energizers” in life now, whether if you are looking for employment or not.  If you realize that you fear asking your boss for anything (avoiding conflict being something you value), then you might be able to overcome the fear and muster up the courage to ask for that raise you deserve.  Self reflection is good for everyone at any stage in life.  Of course, I am suggesting you do it with your career, because people rarely think to self reflect in this manner.

What they don’t teach you in school

We learned so much from our studies from kindergarten to high school graduation and beyond.  We’ve been provided with a great skill set in the fundamentals to being productive members of society.  But those life skills everyone keeps telling us we need to obtain are more often than not in short supply.

I see no reason to keep the knowledge I learn about pursuing a passion in the career of your choice from the world. With endless possibilities to what we can achieve I refuse to let the challenge of job hunting get in my way.  Why should it get in yours? Join me and see what opportunities await you.