Alualu re-signs with Steelers for two years

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Tyson Alualu is sticking with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Steelers re-signed the defensive lineman to a two-year contract on Friday that will run through the 2020 season.

The 31-year-old Alualu, a graduate of Saint Louis School, has 61 tackles, with four sacks, in 31 games for the Steelers after signing with the team as a free agent in 2017. The veteran has started seven games for Pittsburgh, providing the defensive line with depth behind Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt and Javon Hargrave.

Alualu spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who selected him with the 10th overall pick in the 2010 draft. He has 21 1/2 career sacks and has proven durable during his time in the league, missing just three games across nine seasons.

Top 10 most stressful jobs for 2019

Stress at work happens to everyone—it comes and goes, no matter how much you love what you do. Its causes can range from something fleeting, like an unusually heavy workload one week, to something more serious, like a toxic managerial environment. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 40% of American workers […]

Stress at work happens to everyone—it comes and goes, no matter how much you love what you do. Its causes can range from something fleeting, like an unusually heavy workload one week, to something more serious, like a toxic managerial environment.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 40% of American workers say their job is very or extremely stressful. The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines occupational stress by days missed from work caused by a reaction to stress (as opposed to illness or injury), and finds it is often highest in white collar industries and service industries. So, working on an Alaskan oil rig can be physically dangerous and cause one kind of stress, while teaching first graders causes quite another.

The most stressful jobs of 2019 are defined by their high stakes (life and death), public accountability, financial cost or the need for quick decision-making.

The most stressful jobs you can have right now

Surgeon

As nerve-wracking it is for someone to go under the knife, it takes a steady and well-trained hand to perform the work. With a median pay of around $250,000 per year, surgeons are well compensated for their high-stakes job—and must be highly prepared to deal with its pressures.

The actual act of surgery often must be performed under intense scrutiny, can have life-altering effects for the patient, and can lead to potential litigation if something goes wrong. Surgeons’ actions can be the difference between life and death, and with that responsibility comes a high stress load.

Politician/Political aide

If you’re in the political business in 2019 at the federal or state level, the spotlight can be hectic, and the choices you make can have severe consequences for the public. Political division between parties, as well as protests, and contentious town hall meetings, have been on the rise. So while people in politics help shape policies that affect the lives of people in their communities, they may also face confrontation and criticism from an ever-divided public.

Reporter

Whether it’s a newscaster who has to be on point for the camera or a writer facing a deadline, the fast pace, need for utmost accuracy, and highly public nature of the job makes this job anything but boring. From research, scooping the competition, to the continual need to create content amid the 24-hour news cycles, reporters can deal with a lot of stress, heavy workloads, and lots of traveling and long hours. On top of all that, this is a job of passion—not huge paychecks. While newspaper reporters’ median salary is around $43,000, the broadcast news analyst’s median salary is closer to around $62,000.

Military personnel

The physical demands and life-threatening situations faced by soldiers are some of the highest stressors faced by workers the world over, with long-lasting repercussions from PTSD to physical injuries. In addition, no matter what department you are in, a military career has the potential to affect entire regions—a level of responsibility that is a burden to deal with on a daily basis. Other factors can also make the job stressful: constant travel, time away from family and a support network, and having to uproot family to move depending on assignments.

Firefighter

Wildfires in California have recently created public health and ecological disasters—and firefighters are the ones at the scene, controlling the action and dealing with its after effects. Firefighters can work at different levels. They can be employed to help evacuate buildings on fire locally, but also entire regions under threat. They’re the ones running into danger whose main goal is to keep others safe, which requires a level-head and bravery in emergency situations, and can no doubt lead to stress.

PR director

Did someone mention putting out fires? The PR executive is often considered someone who handles public relations disasters—when an oil company spills billions of gallons into the ocean, for example. Fixing an organization’s public image can take many stressful months (sometimes years). Cultivating media relations, monitoring PR campaigns, coordinating interviews, and being a spokesperson for a particular brand, may not seem as high-stakes as fixing an environmental disaster, but these tasks still come with a heavy workload. Mistakes in this job are often highly public, and thus consequential.

Police officer

Police officers assess danger and threat, and often deal with the public in emergency situations. The fact that almost everyone now carries a small video camera around with them in their phone means the level of scrutiny and criticism the average police officer may face has also heightened over the past few years. This job responsible for public safety has high stakes and high importance—and high stress.

Senior corporate executive

Financial and insurance industries contain some of the most stressed people in the world, and the top spot at any corporation will come with heightened responsibility for decision-making with heavy financial consequences. The corporate executive is beholden to workers, shareholders, and the public and clients they serve. The larger the organization, the heavier the weight of this responsibility. With a median salary for chief executives at around $183,00, this position is well compensated for the stress.

Teacher

Most people hate public speaking. Try doing it multiple times throughout the day for an audience that may include disinterested and unruly students who need to be disciplined in addition to being educated.

Teaching comes with lots of hidden stressors. Teachers can make a lifelong impact on their students, which is a huge responsibility. Lesson planning and grading can have teachers working late nights. Teachers in low-income communities in particular, who have less support in technology or school supplies in the classroom, have an added stress in helping students reach learning goals. This is a rewarding job, but comes with a lot of stress for the median salary of between $56,000-$59,000 at the elementary level to high school levels.

Catering manager

While it’s not life or death, the catered event often involves a lot of money, a lot of people, and a lot of coordination and timing for events to run smoothly. How else can 200 dinners come out of the kitchen at the exact same time? Catering companies can take on several large-scale events in a single day, too, which requires a lot of planning of staff and resources.

The catering manager, who is one of the key players responsible for making an event run smoothly, guides staff, works with chefs to serve dishes in a tight timeframe, interfaces with the public, and faces direct consequences both financially and through immediate customer feedback when things go awry.

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The smart way to job hunt while you have a job

It’s easier to job hunt if you have a job. It’s a maxim, but it’s backed up: statistics have shown that employers are more likely to hire people who already have jobs, and a 2017 survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York determined that about 23% of job seekers are already employed. So […]

It’s easier to job hunt if you have a job. It’s a maxim, but it’s backed up: statistics have shown that employers are more likely to hire people who already have jobs, and a 2017 survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York determined that about 23% of job seekers are already employed.

So if you’re ready for a job change and hoping to join that group, how do you go about it?

6 tips for looking for a new job while still on the job

Be discreet

This should be obvious, but it should always be top-of-mind as you look for a new gig. If your boss finds out that you’re unhappy and looking, that can make your current situation very uncomfortable—very fast. So make sure you’re keeping everything on the DL; no griping loudly about how much you hate this place, no telling everyone but your boss that you’re halfway out the door.

It may be that you need references for your job hunt, and as mentioned, you probably can’t tell your boss. So what about other colleagues? Choose carefully. Select one or two people who can speak to your abilities and professional skills, but who will also be discreet. Office gossips need not apply. And make sure that when you talk to this person, you emphasize that you need them to be discreet and not tell anyone else that you’re thinking about your exit plan. Most people get it—remember, 23% of employed people are out looking for new opportunities, and turnover is a fact of life at virtually every company. If you’re not sure that someone is entirely trustworthy, don’t risk it. Go outside the company for a reference.

You still have to work while at work

Don’t spend your time combing job search sites while you’re supposed to be working. Many employers have full access to everything you search online while using company devices, so if you wouldn’t want your IT department handing a list of links to your boss, don’t spend your work day scanning job sites.

Instead, use your own phone or tablet during lunch, or on other breaks.

Don’t use your work email address as a contact for new job leads

Ideally, you have a respectable name@[anyemaildomain].com account set up for your personal use. That’s what you should use for your job search because again, you don’t want your job hunt to become public knowledge, and your work emails are typically the property of your employer.

Schedule interviews outside of work hours whenever possible

This can be tricky, because business hours are when most hiring work is done. But if a late-day or early morning interview just isn’t possible, we’ve all done the “I have a dentist appointment” fib to go to an interview.

Don’t telegraph that you’re interviewing

When you’re leaving for that “dentist appointment,” it’s a pretty big tip-off if you just happen to be wearing your best suit. If you can, change outside the office after you leave and before you get back.

Don’t start slacking at your current job

When you’re focused on the future, it can be tempting to do less now. That will almost definitely backfire. If your standard of work drops, you risk causing damage to your reputation. And if you don’t get that new job right away, you’re stuck with the consequences of that in your everyday professional life. It’s a kind of self-sabotage. So even though you may be frustrated or unhappy about your current situation, do as much as you can to maintain the status quo while you figure out your next steps. Don’t forget, you may need these colleagues as references or part of your network later on, so don’t burn bridges now.

Looking for a job while you have a job is common, and it can be challenging, with what feels like cloak-and-dagger activity. But if you’re able to balance your current work with your stealth search on the side, it’ll be even sweeter when you find that perfect new opportunity.

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How to be a good mentor

Those of us who have had the opportunity to have a good professional mentor as we travel through our career paths are well aware of the value they bring—this includes everything from support, encouragement, and motivation; to opening new doors; to networking and job opportunities. The bottom line is that a good mentor is really […]

Those of us who have had the opportunity to have a good professional mentor as we travel through our career paths are well aware of the value they bring—this includes everything from support, encouragement, and motivation; to opening new doors; to networking and job opportunities. The bottom line is that a good mentor is really worth their weight in gold. 

That said, others among us have learned that some people who find themselves in a position to be mentors are really not well-suited for the role and can even do more harm than good. A bad mentor can hold you back from new opportunities and career advancement, set you off on a trajectory that isn’t right for you, and even sour you on an industry entirely.

Clearly, the role of a mentor isn’t one to be taken lightly. It’s a tremendous responsibility, and one that could potentially give you a great deal of power and influence over someone in need of real advice, molding, and guidance. If you’re making a conscious decision to become a mentor to someone junior to you in your field, make sure that you enter the role with every intention of being a positive influence. Consider using the following strategies to get started on the right foot.

3 rules to being a strong mentor

Don’t feel threatened

Here’s the raw truth when it comes to most mentor/mentee relationships: you’re helping to train the next generation of workers in your field, and they’re going to be just as ambitious as you likely were when you were just starting out and eager to climb to the top of your career ladder as quickly as possible. Take a moment to look back on those times—didn’t you have visions of eventually seizing the reins of power and filling your boss’s shoes (hopefully as they quietly shuffle out of your way)? Chances are if you’re mentoring someone they’ll likely be harboring the same ambitions.

Don’t let this cloud your relationship with them or make you feel threatened and defensive—or worse, make you work against their best interests. Instead, recognize that this is a natural part of the professional cycle. As older employers mature, new employees will enter the field and hopefully gain the necessary skills and experience to one day take control. It happened for you, and one day it’ll happen for them; after all, you won’t be in the world of work forever and likely don’t want to be. The best you can do as a mentor is to help ensure that you’re placing the future of your company and industry in capable hands.

Don’t do it for personal gain

In the world of work, most of us are used to the sort of “quid pro quo” arrangement where both sides get something tangible when taking part in a mutually agreed upon transaction. However, the mentor/mentee relationship is a little bit different. The fact of the matter is, there’s an inherent imbalance (of sorts) when it comes to “who gets what” here; the mentor typically devotes a significant amount of time and energy to the exchange and the mentee reaps most of the benefits—the knowledge, skills, experience, and opportunities that you’re passing along to them. It is true that mentors get the satisfaction of knowing that they’re “paying it forward” and helping out the next generation, but make sure that that’s enough of a return on your investment when deciding whether or not to be a mentor. Do it for the satisfaction of helping pave the way for someone else, and not for personal gain.

Check yourself

As we said before, becoming a mentor is a big responsibility and not one to be taken lightly. You’re going to have a real impact on the life of someone in a dependent and impressionable time in their life, so make sure you have enough time and energy to do it well. There’s nothing quite as dispiriting as having a mentor who never seems to have the time to work with you and who you’re always chasing down for help and guidance—or worse, who seems annoyed or put out by your needs. Don’t be that sort of mentor—if you commit to doing it, make sure you’re doing so with the understanding that you’re going to have to carve out a significant amount of your time and resources towards being a good and reliable source of support and guidance all the way through.

Being a mentor can be a challenging role, and often the rewards aren’t immediately tangible. However, when done properly, being a positive mentor to an eager and excited individual can be an extremely rewarding and fulfilling experience. If you’re going to be a mentor, then commit to being a good one, and use the strategies and advice presented here to help you along the way.

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It’s okay to break these resume rules

Those of us who have spent any amount of time in the job market have undoubtedly devoted a great deal of blood, sweat, and tears to getting our resumes just right. We know the prize that’s at stake and the level of competition we’re likely facing in pursuit of our dream job, so putting in […]

Those of us who have spent any amount of time in the job market have undoubtedly devoted a great deal of blood, sweat, and tears to getting our resumes just right. We know the prize that’s at stake and the level of competition we’re likely facing in pursuit of our dream job, so putting in the extra time and effort to getting things just right is time well spent, and a worthwhile investment in our professional futures. And nothing sinks your chances of getting hired quite so quickly and absolutely as a poorly crafted resume.

Every job seeker carries the weight of their resume as they mold and shape it in pursuit of perfection—and although the perfect resume may never be an attainable goal, that certainly doesn’t stop us from trying. This includes carefully following all the well-worn rules of resume writing that we’ve convinced ourselves are set in unmovable stone. But the truth is, they aren’t, at least not anymore. The rules for job hunting have certainly changed over the past several years, so doesn’t it stand to reason that the rules for resume writing have changed as well?

Let’s be
honest—the merging of technology and culture have changed nearly every aspect
of how we live our lives and continues to tear down all the old rules and ways
of doing things, and job hunting and resume writing are no exceptions. Those
who are best at keeping up with the breakneck pace of change, and resisting
getting mired down in stodgy old rules, are best positioned for success. On top
of this, a little strategic rule breaking—when applied effectively—can really
help you stand out from the crowd and grab the attention of the gatekeepers who
stand between you and your next job.

Hopefully by now we’ve convinced you that it’s sometimes okay to occasionally break the old resume rules in pursuit of your next job. Let’s take a closer look at some specific rules that are now ok to break.

No storytelling

We’ve all heard before that a resume isn’t a venue for you to tell your life’s story. Rather, it should primarily be a tool to tell potential employers what value you offer. Not anymore! Today’s employers are interested in learning more about your personal brand—what makes you a unique individual as well as your specific value proposition. They want employees who’ll fit well in their culture and support their mission to promote their unique brand, and they want to know what makes you tick and what motivates you.

Your resume could—and should—be a holistic document that chronicles your passions, pursuits, and key professional decisions as well as your work achievements. When writing your resume, don’t shy away from telling your story—when weaved effectively into your professional journey, it’ll help you stand out from other potential candidates and make you seem like much more than a boring, bulleted list of job responsibilities.

Quantify everything

The old rules of resume writing often dictated that if an achievement can’t be mapped back to the bottom line numerically—we’re talking about things like revenue, percentage growth, and numbers of new customers here—then it isn’t something worth including on your resume. This is simply not true! Today’s savvy employers can appreciate and recognize the value of contributions that don’t always translate immediately to a company’s bottom line. Perhaps you came up with a helpful or intriguing new idea or work policy at your old job that you can’t tie specific numbers to. That’s okay. As long as it supports your personal brand and message and demonstrates your value as a potential employee, include it!

Keywords everywhere

Nothing puts hiring personnel to sleep faster than an endless pile of resumes that are all laden with the same overused keywords in an attempt to convince them that you’re “in the know” when it comes to the industry. A resume that’s nothing but keywords runs the risk of making you seem robotic and less like a human they’d like to work with. Sure, keywords are important and should be used strategically, but forcing them awkwardly into everything on your resume can make your document come off as boring and artificial. Don’t be afraid to have a resume that shows that you’re an actual person—and preferably one that they’d likely enjoy working with!

There you have it—a few of the old rules that you may want to consider leaving behind when crafting your resume. In the end, don’t forget that at some point in the job-searching process an actual person is going to be tasked with reading and evaluating your resume, and they’ll likely want to know what makes you you as much as what you potentially offer their company’s bottom line.

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Top 5 job search tips for Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers have driven the economy for decades. The youngest of the generation are just now turning 55 (a long-time “dream” age for early retirement), while much of the generation have already reached retirement age. In fact, there are approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers retiring every day. However, if you are among the many of this […]

Baby Boomers have driven the economy for decades. The youngest of the generation are just now turning 55 (a long-time “dream” age for early retirement), while much of the generation have already reached retirement age. In fact, there are approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers retiring every day. However, if you are among the many of this generation who plan to continue working, even beyond 65, there are few simple tips that can help you find a position right for you.

5 strategies to land your next job

1. Boost your tech awareness

Every generation becomes increasingly more tech savvy. While you may not be an “Insta Story” expert, or the ideal candidate for an organization’s social media guru, being up-to-date on the types of technology typically used in the workplace of the organization you’re applying for is important.

If you’re embarking on a new field, take a course in a new computer software program. Even volunteering in your field of interest first can help you get a sense of what skillset is needed for the job. These actions can help communicate your willingness to learn and adapt to new work situations. Making sure you have the basics down can show you’ll be able to work alongside people who were raised on smartphones.

2. Target your qualifications

Most Boomers will have a long work history, which translates to experience you can bring to a new position. However, you want to be able to target the key qualities and skillsets that are perfect for the open position you hope to get. Effectively, you’re not giving your interviewer a complete summary of your total work experience—or even highlighting the job you stayed in the longest. You want to give your interviewer a focus on specific experience that will help you perform the job. Connect the dots for them. This way, you help your interviewer sift through your long work history and show your true interest in the open position—and knowledge of its needed skills.

3. Communicate your adaptability

Being overqualified can have its drawbacks. Hiring managers may assume you expect more money or assume you may already have a set way of doing things. Positioning yourself as flexible is key. While you may not be a blank slate that a new employer can help shape (or naïve about salary negotiations), you should highlight your willingness to find new ways of doing things and improving upon your tried-and-true practices.

4. Be aware of generational differences

If you’ve been working throughout your adult life, you’ve probably seen changes at work between the 20th and 21st century. Make sure your resume is updated both in new, current experiences and in the language you use to describe past work. While you don’t want to go overboard in the opposite direction in an attempt to appear more youthful, you should be prepared to deal with a younger generation in positions of power. While age and wisdom go together, you want to remain deferential—especially to the hiring manager.

5. Wow the interviewer

Ageism in the workplace is real (and against the law) but even though this is the case, you may face assumptions from younger interviewers because you are an older candidate. You want to make sure you subvert these potential assumptions rather than play into them. For example, have all your facts and talking points ready and prepared, so you don’t appear “forgetful.” Convey enthusiasm for the position. Appearing to have “low energy” can count against older job candidates. Try simple things like using your smartphone in the interview to refer to notes—this simple action can communicate to the interviewer you are sufficiently tech-savvy.

The fact is, you’re likely up-to-date on your references and your work skills—it’s just key that you prepare to convey them on interview day so there’s no doubt you’re up to any task that might come your way. Good luck!

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How to get your finances in order if you’re about to be fired

Sometimes you see the warning signs coming—you got a bad performance review, or your coworkers are being laid off left and right. Whether it’s the business itself showing signs of budget cuts or just a gut feeling you have, if you’re worried that a layoff is coming your way, now is a smart time to […]

Sometimes you see the warning signs coming—you got a bad performance review, or your coworkers are being laid off left and right. Whether it’s the business itself showing signs of budget cuts or just a gut feeling you have, if you’re worried that a layoff is coming your way, now is a smart time to get financially prepared for when you need a cushion to fall back on.

7 steps to preparing yourself for a job loss

Spend time job-browsing each week

Knowing what companies are hiring and what opportunities are available now can help you later on down the road. It takes about three to six months to find a new job after a layoff, but if you start researching your next best job now, you can get closer to the three-month mark or even beat it.

The better prepared you are for finding your next job, the better your financial situation will be. Keeping an eye out for openings of a company you’d love to work for will help you get in the right routine before the pressure is on. Even searching potential part-time opportunities to help keep you afloat as you find a full-time position could be an excellent option. And if your company has any networking events, take advantage! Get started on making a connection now so you don’t have to worry later.

Budget now

For some, it’s enough to make ends meet with steady employment. If you don’t like spreadsheets or math, or spending time on your budget, get over that quick. Being aware of how you spend your money can be eye-opening, and simple changes can help you stretch your dollars. Analyzing your spending habits and challenging yourself to spend less—whether it’s eating out less or making your own coffee at home rather than buying on the way to work—can help you prepare for a job loss so you are aware of the amount you need to cover the essentials.

Start an emergency fund (if you don’t already have one)

Your finances should be more than a matter of simply paying your bills on time—ultimately, you want to be able to save for the future. But not everyone is in that position yet. Even if you live paycheck to paycheck, try to pay into an emergency fund a little each week, like it’s a bill you owe to your future self. Future you, suddenly caught without a functioning hot water heater, will thank you.

Get what benefits you can now

Does your current job offer dental coverage? Go see the dentist now before you’re hit with a layoff. Same goes with your primary physician. Get a routine physical done before you potentially lose those benefits.

Many jobs also offer career advancement opportunities, or other perks like a Health Savings Account or 401K matching. Figure out how you can get the most out of these opportunities now. If your company offers severance pay, calculate that into your budget to see if it will be enough to keep you afloat for several months.

Build a new revenue stream

Assess your skills, and explore opportunities for side gigs. Some ideas are freelancing, being an Uber driver, or bartending, but there are many ways to make extra cash each week beyond your current job—even if you simply want to sell stuff you no longer need on eBay. Finding small ways to earn extra cash will help you save more, and if you do get laid off, you will have another source of revenue to fall back on—and another opportunity to build upon.

Target your debt

Being in debt means you’re paying more for something than you should because you’re paying interest over time. Many people have crushing student loan debt, credit card debt, or mortgage payments to make each month that can be hard to tackle when you’re laid off. There are temporary fixes, like deferments for student loans or transferring credit card debt to zero interest cards, but ultimately you need to make a plan to pay it off. Even consider looking at refinancing or discussing potential payment reduction plans with lenders—because the longer you delay actually paying, the more you end up owing over time.

Research unemployment benefits

Unemployment
benefits will differ by state and by job and can be difficult to navigate,
especially while you feel the emotional and financial effects of job loss.
Learning the rules a little before you’re hit with a layoff can help you
prepare. Even simply figuring out what amount of money you’ll receive can help
you target the budget you’ll need to stick to as you search for your next job
opportunity.

The post How to get your finances in order if you’re about to be fired appeared first on TheJobNetwork.

How to deal with coming to a career crossroads

In pop culture, we picture midlife crises in a very specific way. The man who buys the Ferrari. The woman who goes on a soul-searching trip with lots of yoga and beautiful European locales. In real life, though, it can be a lot more subtle than that—and often hits the professional life rather than the […]

In pop culture, we picture midlife crises in a very specific way. The man who buys the Ferrari. The woman who goes on a soul-searching trip with lots of yoga and beautiful European locales. In real life, though, it can be a lot more subtle than that—and often hits the professional life rather than the personal one. If you’re feeling mid-career blahs, and aren’t sure how to deal with it, it could be a career crossroads. Is it time for a change? Should you keep going on your current path?

What is a career crossroads and how can you handle it?

The career crossroads is a point where you start to wonder what the rest of your career should look like. It can be brought on by changes at work (a new boss, big changes in the company) or really by nothing at all except a general sense of am I doing what I should be doing? The end result could be staying where you are, looking for a new job, or jumping fields altogether. Let’s look at some strategies for dealing with a career crossroads.

Do an audit of your professional life

Now is the time to ask some very important questions about what you’re doing now and where you’ve been. Are you in a field that you chose decades ago, right out of school, because it felt like the right choice at the time? Do you still feel like it was the right choice? Have you moved as far in your job or field as you would like? Do you feel burned out because you no longer feel fulfilled by what you’re doing, or would minor changes make your life better in the same job?

It’s also a chance to reassess your values. What’s the most
important career factor for you at this point? A certain salary? The emotional
fulfillment you get from your job? A certain job title or set of
responsibilities?

Be honest about what you want

This isn’t about what others might want for you or what you wanted back when you were a student. The person you are now may have changed totally from your younger self, so it’s time to be realistic about what you want to achieve in the next phase of your career.

Here are some factors to consider:

  • What’s the financial picture in your career right now? Sites like Glassdoor and Salary.com can help you figure out if your salary is in line with others at your level of experience, job title, etc.
  • Do you feel fulfilled by what you’re doing? If you find yourself bored but generally happy with your field, think about what would make your job more challenging or fulfilling. If you can’t think of anything that would enhance your current path, then it’s time to ask …
  • Would you be happier doing something else? The mid-career change is increasingly common. What you wanted to do forever at age 22 is not necessarily the same thing you want to do forever at age 50. If you think you need a drastic change, then it’s also time to think about what would be involved in starting over (Going back to school? Certification?).

Don’t be afraid to get an outside perspective

You don’t have to muscle through your crossroads alone. In fact, it can really help to get the outside advice of someone you trust, like a mentor or someone else in your field. It’s best to avoid people at your current job (lest you spark rumors about you quitting), but a former colleague could be a good choice. The act of describing your current frustrations and future goals can help you visualize what you really want to do.

Create an action plan

If you determine that it’s time to make a job change or push for a promotion at your current job, then do it. Set a plan for your job search. Update your resume. Dust off your LinkedIn page, and start building your network. Start building your negotiation plan for approaching your boss. The outcome of your self-audit should always be an action plan of some sort, kind of a roadmap for the next phase of your career. Whether you’re staying put or looking for something new, you should come up with several tasks that will make your professional life better.

If you feel yourself approaching the career crossroads,
don’t let the questions or frustrations get you down. It’s the perfect
opportunity to take charge, and shape your career for the better.

The post How to deal with coming to a career crossroads appeared first on TheJobNetwork.

Trends older workers need to look out for in 2019

When it comes to workplace trends, it can seem like Millennials are the only ones facing changes and making changes. But if you happen to be a non-Millennial, like millions of American workers, it can be hard to see where you fit in with the changing workplace landscape. If you’re a Baby Boomer (born approximately […]

When it comes to workplace trends, it can seem like Millennials are the only ones facing changes and making changes. But if you happen to be a non-Millennial, like millions of American workers, it can be hard to see where you fit in with the changing workplace landscape. If you’re a Baby Boomer (born approximately 1946 and 1964), we’ve got you covered! Here are three significant trends you should be thinking about for your 2019 professional life.

3 career trends people above the age of 55 should know about

1. Experience is still more important than age

Many Baby Boomers find themselves working past the age that their own parents retired, due to a range of factors from financial security to the fact that many workers just not ready yet to hang up their career hats. That trend is making its way into the hiring arena.

According to Labor Department data analysis done by TLR Analytics, nearly half of the 2.9 million jobs gained during 2018 went to workers age 55 and older. In 2018, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 39.2% of Americans over age 55 were employed—the highest number in that demographic since 1961. So employers are hiring older workers, but many workers are simply hanging onto their jobs longer as well.

Part of the reason is that workers are saying active longer, but also, many employers are seeking stable, mature employees. A recent study by the National Council on Aging revealed that older employees did less job-hopping than their younger counterparts and had lower absentee rates.  

2. Contract work is on the rise

Per a 2018 NPR/Marist poll, 1 in 5 American jobs are held by a contract worker. For many Boomers, this represents a significant shift in how to think about the workplace and the work day. Many companies are shifting from a traditional full-time employment model to hiring part-timers and freelance or contract workers. For a generation that was raised with the idea that work means putting in your time and building your career around a single, stable full-time job for decades, it can be a difficult shift to digest.

This change is especially noteworthy for Baby Boomers,
because contract jobs often don’t come with the hallmarks of a full-time job:
insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and other benefits. Working in the
contract economy can mean extra planning and different financial solutions as
you start thinking about your career endgame.

3. More companies are willing to let you work remotely

With the rise of digital communication in all aspects of the workplace, plus the focus that many companies have on collaborating with partners all over the world, telecommuting and flexible work arrangements (like working from home or working remotely during unorthodox hours) are becoming more and more prevalent.

The 9-to-5, punch-in-and-punch-out model, isn’t dead yet, but it’s unlikely that we’ll see a return to those traditional norms for many industries. And for older workers, this new landscape can be a distinct advantage. The number of companies that offer a remote work option may increase the number of job openings available to older workers who may find long-distance work difficult.

Flexible work arrangements can also be a good way to segue into part-time work or consulting if you’re thinking about how to move into retirement. And these flexible arrangements also represent a boon in quality of life in many cases, offering savings in time, money, and the aggravation of a commute. Today’s older workers are increasingly tech-savvy, which will lead to more and more opportunities in the evolving physical and digital workplace.

As the workplace evolves, so does the Baby Boomer employee. The stats show that rather than being sidelined, older workers are not only fighting for (and keeping) their jobs, but also that they’re a workplace force to be reckoned with—in 2019 and beyond.

The post Trends older workers need to look out for in 2019 appeared first on TheJobNetwork.

Use the STAR Method to answer any interview question

It’s interview day. You’ve worked on your handshake, your eye contact, your head-to-toe professional outfit. You know your resume backwards and forwards, and you’ve reviewed the job description so many times you can practically see it when you close your eyes. So, you’re ready. And then in the interview, you get a question you weren’t […]

It’s interview day. You’ve worked on your handshake, your eye contact, your head-to-toe professional outfit. You know your resume backwards and forwards, and you’ve reviewed the job description so many times you can practically see it when you close your eyes. So, you’re ready. And then in the interview, you get a question you weren’t necessarily expecting: “Tell me about a time when you…” Argh, the dreaded behavioral questions. Now what?

First, don’t panic. You can
answer any question an interviewer throws your way, without grinding the whole
thing to a halt. It’s as simple as being a STAR.

What’s the STAR Method and how do you use it?

STAR is a method you can use to frame an answer quickly and
efficiently. It’s an acronym for:

Situation:
Where/when did this example take place?

Task: What was
your level of responsibility in this example?

Action: What
steps did you take?

Result: What was
the outcome, and what did you learn or achieve?

Let’s break down some strategies for using the STAR method
in your next and future interviews.

Find the right example

Unless something comes to mind right away, this can be the
hardest part. But think of it this way: the question is likely to be a
situation that is tied to something on your resume or a task in the job
description, so this is something you can think about in advance, even if you
don’t know what will be asked specifically. Ahead of the interview, come up
with examples or anecdotes for every experience bullet point and skill on your
resume. That way, when you’re asked, “Tell me about at time you showed
leadership,” you will already have a list of relevant points ready to go.

Relevance is the key—you don’t want to start rambling about
something that doesn’t really fit what the interviewer is asking. So the quick
internal check should be, “I think this is the right story—does it answer
what’s being asked?”

And if you need a bit of time to think things over, say so—it’s okay to ask for a minute to think things over. “That’s a really great question; I’d like to think about it for a minute!” You don’t want your contemplation to go too long, but taking 30 seconds to gather your thoughts will lead to a better answer.

Set the scene

This doesn’t have to be an elaborate, cinematic story.
However, you should be able to give a few quick details to show the interviewer
what the context is for your story.

I
was the lead on a project, and 80% of my team had called in sick…

We
were on schedule and on budget, when the client changed his mind in the middle
of the meeting…

I
took a call from an angry customer, who was not interested in hearing the
company’s side of the story…

You’ll want to make it conversational so that it doesn’t sound like you memorized a card. All you need are a few short sentences—no need to provide detailed backstory about everyone involved or a history of your employment. You want the details to be directly relevant to your story. And it’s okay to be humorous or light in your response, as long as you keep the tone professional.

Talk about what you did to solve the problem or approach the issue

Once you’ve set the scene for the interviewer, talk about
what you did to resolve the issue. Usually, when interviewers ask
behavioral-style questions, they’re just as interested in the how as the what. And again, this doesn’t need to be a long-winded, detailed
step-by-step. A few succinct bullet points about what you did in the situation
will be just fine. If the interviewer has any follow-up questions, she’ll ask.

Talk up your achievements—or lessons learned

When you’re talking about the results, don’t be afraid to talk about what you achieved—especially if it puts you in a positive light. You don’t want to come off like a braggart, but you should own your accomplishments.

The
project came in under budget thanks to my fix, and we broke sales records that
year.

Because I caught the order before it was processed, I was able to stop 5,000 widgets from being shipped accidentally. That was a great feeling.

And if you picked an example that didn’t necessarily have a
happy ending (because hey, sometimes that’s the only anecdote that fits), be
sure to talk about what you did gain from the situation.

Although
it was difficult  while I worked to
resolve the issue, it taught me that nothing is more important than providing a
superior customer experience.

It
was definitely a learning experience, and having worked with such a demanding
client, I know I can work with anyone to get the job done.

Like with your other STAR points, a couple of sentences
should be all you need to summarize and wrap up your story.

Practice beforehand

If you’re not all that comfortable with storytelling, this is definitely a skill you can build before you’re in the interview hot seat. Just like with body language or your handshake, practice until it becomes second nature! Grab a trusted person who can ask you general behavioral questions, and apply the STAR method to your conversation. If you do this enough times in your everyday life, you won’t be sitting in the interview thinking, “Okay, time for S. What’s the situation?” You’ll already be searching through your mind’s archive for the relevant anecdote.   

If you prep for interviews with the STAR method, you can tackle any question an interviewer throws your way, even if it seems like it comes out of nowhere. Quick, to-the-point answers will impress your interviewer and demonstrate that you have one of the most important skills—thinking on your feet.

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