Categories
National News

US consumer confidence drops to 96.1 as virus spreads

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer confidence fell to a reading of 96.1 in November as rising coronavirus cases pushed American optimism down to the lowest level since August.
The November reading released Tuesday by the the Conference Board said represents a drop from a revised 101.4 in October. The decline reflected a big drop in consumer expectations for income, business and labor market conditions.
“Heading into 2021, consumers do not foresee the economy nor the labor market gaining strength. In addition, the resurgence of COVID-19 is further increasing uncertainty and exacerbating concerns about the outlook,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of Economic Indicators for the Conference Board.
Consumer confidence is closely watched for signals it can provide of how willing households are to spend. Consumer spending accounts for 70% of economic activity in the U.S.
“We think the sharp rise in positive coronavirus cases nationwide, which has prompted new restrictions and shutdowns in many states, has led consumers to be more fearful of what lies ahead for them and their families as we head into the year-end holiday season,” said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at global financial group MUFG.
The consumer confidence index is set on a scale with 100 equaling the confidence level in 1985.
In the leadup to the pandemic with the country enjoying unemployment at a half-century low of 3.9%, the confidence index had risen above 130. It stood at 132.6 in February but plunged to 85.7 in April as millions of Americans lost their jobs after the country went into lockdown to try to halt the spread of the pandemic.
The index has bounced around since its big April decline but remains well below the levels seen before the pandemic hit.
For November, the present situations index, based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions, decreased slightly to 106.2 from 105.9. However, the expectations index, based on consumers’ outlook for the future, declined from 98.1 in October to 89.5 in November.

Categories
International Headlines

Spain’s mortuary workers endure the daily march of death

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — When Marina Gómez and her fellow mortuary worker enter a room at a nursing home to remove the body of a COVID-19 victim, they work methodically and in silence.
They disinfect the mouth, nose and eyes to reduce the risk of contamination. They wrap the body in the bed sheets. Two white body bags are used, one inside the other, and the zippers are closed in the opposite direction: the first bag is sealed head to foot; the second, foot to head.
The only sound in the room is from the whisper of the zippers, sealing the dead from view for the last time.
Gómez and her colleagues work for Mémora, the leading funeral service provider in Barcelona with homes throughout Spain and Portugal. They are part of a group of essential workers. Like nurses and doctors, they have seen and touched the march of death from the virus that has already killed some 1.4 million people around the world.
When arriving at a nursing home or rehabilitation center, Gómez and her partner Manel Rivera encourage caregivers to move a surviving roommate from the room while they collect the body.
Many times, however, only a white curtain separates the living from the dead, and that harsh reality and lack of decency bothers Gómez.
“Just the simple fact of going to pick up a body and seeing there is another person, alive, next to them (in the room), that is what most gets to me,” she told The Associated Press.
In the first months of the pandemic last spring, Gómez said their requests to move a surviving patient out of the room were honored more often. A sort of wartime atmosphere had brought people together in solidarity amid the misery.
Now, however, Gómez said many Spaniards seem to have become numbed by the resurgence of the virus after a summer reprieve that led authorities to claim the worst was over. Now, the country has over 1.5 million cases and has recorded over 43,000 deaths.
Some emotional detachment is needed in order to keep working, admits Rivera, 44.
“Once I put the person in the shroud and close the zipper, I no longer ask myself if she had blond, red or brown hair,” he said.
Any dwelling on the dead means “you don’t last long in this job,” Rivera said.
After successfully bringing the daily death count down from over 900 in March to single digits by July, Spain has seen a steady uptick that brought deaths back to over 200 a day this month. With that relapse, the body collectors have returned to making the rounds of hospitals, homes and care facilities.
“We should have learned something,” Gómez said. “But once we were left to do what we want, we went back to our natural state. We have no memory.”
Gómez, 28, was hired to fill in for another worker on sick leave in April, when Spain was reeling from the worst of the virus. Thrown into the nonstop runs to collect the dead, she had to learn on the fly how to do this difficult job safely.
Before, if someone had died of an infectious disease, they would wear gloves, mask and an apron. When the virus hit Spain in March, they quickly learned to put on individual protection suits and two sets of gloves, and how take it all off properly when finished so they didn’t get infected.
So far, they have remained healthy.
When the death toll skyrocketed in March and April, Rivera decided to isolate himself for six weeks, only seeing his 5-year-old son via video.
“It was the feeling that you wanted to do everything as quickly as possible, to reduce the contact as much as you could, but at the same time, you couldn’t make a mistake,” Rivera said of those days. “We were risking our lives.”
Román Ibáñez, 38, has transported bodies for 14 years. He recalled this year’s darkest weeks, when the company went from picking up 50 corpses a day to nearly 200.
“It was completely insane. You reached the point that you didn’t know what you were doing. You never took off your suit. It was chaotic,” he said.
The most harrowing moment for Ibáñez was the night they responded to a nursing home.
“A young woman opened the door, crying. Half the staff was sick, the person on the night shift had left a dead body where it was. She was trying to get someone else to come work, but there was no one. Half the residents had died. From when we entered until when we left, she did not stop crying,” he said.
Picking up bodies is not highly skilled labor, and many of the mortuary workers previously have toiled at factories, construction sites and delivery jobs. But it does require true mettle — a combination of empathy and respect, balanced with the pride of doing what has to be done.
The workers say they love their job because it gives them purpose and satisfaction.
“It truly is a tough job, but it has its recompense,” said Jonathan Ciudad, Ibáñez’s partner. “With a sense of humanity and sticking together, you get through it. You truly see that life is for living.”

Categories
International Headlines

For holiday travel, England uses tests to reduce quarantines

LONDON (AP) — In a boost to holiday travel that will be cheered by families and businesses, the British government has laid out a plan to reduce England’s 14-day quarantine requirement for travelers from destinations not deemed safe to as little as five days if they test negative for COVID-19.
The change to the quarantine rules, which was announced Tuesday and takes effect on Dec. 15, has been long-awaited by the travel industry, one of the worst-hit sectors during the pandemic. The industry hopes it will spur British families to go on holiday over the Christmas break, especially if children won’t have to miss school upon their return.
Under the new rules, passengers from places not deemed safe can reduce the 14-day quarantine period by paying for a test from a private firm on or after Day 5 of their arrival at a potential cost of around 100 pounds ($133). Results normally take a day or two.
“Our new testing strategy will allow us to travel more freely, see loved ones and drive international business,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said. “By giving people the choice to test on Day 5, we are also supporting the travel industry as it continues to rebuild out of the pandemic.”
The change does not apply to the other parts of the United Kingdom. Travelers from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales must continue to self-isolate for 14 days.
Representatives from the four nations are meeting later Tuesday to come up with a U.K.-wide approach over the relaxation of restrictions over the Christmas period. All have indicated they will allow a degree of mixing between family and friends around Christmas, while stressing the need for caution.
The change in England’s travel rules brings them more in line with other European countries, including Germany. Still, with a maze of travel and quarantine restrictions around the world, few industry experts anticipate a rapid rush for the skies before vaccinations become widely available.
“We still have a complex jigsaw puzzle of restrictions around the world that need tourists to have a high IQ to understand,” said Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency. “We need to see global consistency for travel to fully take off.”
Many popular holiday destinations, such as the United States or Canada, remain blocked off for English travelers, and trips to most of Europe require quarantining, except for isolated spots like Spain’s Canary Islands, off the coast of Africa.
British travelers have faced a chaotic, uncertain situation since travel was permitted again after the spring coronavirus lockdown. The Conservative government has taken countries off its safe list at very short notice, prompting many travelers to cut vacations short to Spain and France this summer and quickly return to the U.K. to avoid mandatory quarantines.
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of the industry association Airlines U.K., said the announcement on a shorter quarantine period provided “light at the end of the tunnel” for the aviation industry and people wanting to go on holiday.
Mark Tanzer, chief executive of the travel trade group Abta, said the new testing scheme should make overseas travel “more attractive and manageable for both holidaymakers and business travelers.”
The government also announced new financial support for English airports and ground handling firms beginning in 2021.
“This new package of support for airports, alongside a new testing regime for international arrivals, will help the sector take off once again as we build back better from the pandemic,” said Treasury chief Rishi Sunak.
Sunak plans to unveil the government’s spending plans for 2021 on Wednesday.

Categories
National News

Thanksgiving could make or break US coronavirus response

In Pennsylvania, if you’re having friends over to socialize, you’re supposed to wear a mask — and so are your friends. That’s the rule, but Barb Chestnut has no intention of following it.
“No one is going to tell me what I can or not do in my own home,” said Chestnut, 60, of Shippensburg. “They do not pay my bills and they are not going to tell me what to do.”
As governors and mayors grapple with an out-of-control pandemic, they are ratcheting up mask mandates and imposing restrictions on small indoor gatherings, which have been blamed for accelerating the spread of the coronavirus. But while such measures carry the weight of law, they are, in practical terms, unenforceable, and officials are banking on voluntary compliance instead.
Good luck with that.
While many are undoubtedly heeding public health advice — downsizing Thanksgiving plans, avoiding get-togethers, wearing masks when they’re around people who don’t live with them — it’s inevitable that a segment of the population will blow off new state and local restrictions and socialize anyway. Experts say that could put greater stress on overburdened hospitals and lead to an even bigger spike in sickness and death over the holidays.
“When this started in early March, we weren’t staring at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we didn’t have the disease reservoir that we have. And that, to me, is the biggest concern in the next few weeks,” said Dr. David Rubin, the director of PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He called the risk of a Thanksgiving spike “extremely high.”
“I think you’re seeing a lot of resistance here,” Rubin said. “I can’t speculate on what people are going to do, but I can say that to the degree that there isn’t a collective buy-in here, it sort of blunts the impact of the measures themselves.”
The nation is averaging 172,000 new virus cases per day, nearly doubling since the end of October, according to Johns Hopkins University. Hospitalizations, deaths and the testing positivity rate are also up sharply as the nation approaches Thanksgiving.
In response, elected officials are imposing restrictions that, with some exceptions, fall short of the broad-based stay-at-home orders and business shutdowns seen in the spring.
Utah and Vermont have banned all social gatherings. So have local governments in Philadelphia and Dane County, Wisconsin. In Kentucky, no more than eight people from two households are permitted to get together; in Oregon, the gathering limit is six. California has imposed an overnight curfew. More states are requiring masks, including those with GOP governors who have long resisted them. The nation’s top health officials are pleading with Americans to avoid Thanksgiving travel.
There’s some evidence the holiday will be quieter.
Tamika Hickson, who co-owns a party rental business in Philadelphia, said Thanksgiving was a bust even before her city moved to prohibit indoor gatherings of any size.
“Nobody’s calling,” Hickson said. “A lot of people lost a lot of loved ones, so they’re not playing with this. And I don’t blame them.”
AAA projects Thanksgiving travel will fall by at least 10%, which would be the steepest one-year plunge since the Great Recession in 2008. But that still means tens of millions of people on the road. On social media, people defiantly talk about their Thanksgiving plans, arguing that nothing will stop them from seeing friends and family.
More than 1 million people thronged U.S. airports on Sunday, according to the Transportation Security Administration — the highest number since the beginning of the pandemic.
Dr. Debra Bogen, the health director for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, which includes Pittsburgh, said that too many have been ignoring public health guidance and that the result has been unchecked spread of the virus.
“For the past few weeks, I’ve asked people to follow the rules, curtail gatherings and parties, stay home except for essentials, and wear masks. I’m done asking,” Bogen said at a news conference, her frustration palpable. She announced a stay-at-home advisory that she said would turn into an order if people didn’t comply.
Some people are underestimating the risk to themselves and their friends and families, said Baruch Fischhoff, a Carnegie Mellon University psychologist who has written about COVID-19 risk analysis and communications. Others doubt what health officials are telling them about the virus. And still others are simply irresponsible.
Fischhoff said the lack of a cohesive national pandemic strategy; patchwork and seemingly arbitrary restrictions at the state and local level; and ineffective, politicized and contradictory public health messaging have sown confusion and mistrust.
“It has been a colossal, tragic failure of leadership from the very beginning that we didn’t find the common ground in which we were working to protect the weakest among us. And once you’ve lost that coordination, you’re scrambling to get it back and that’s the tragic mess that we’re in now,” he said.
In York County, Pennsylvania, 51-year-old retail worker Kori Jess tested positive for the virus last week. Long a mask skeptic, her personal experience with COVID-19 has changed her opinion — to a point. She said it’s appropriate to wear a mask when circumstances warrant, but she still doesn’t like the idea of government mandating them.
“I’m so torn,” Jess said. “I like that people are fighting for their freedoms, but I understand why people are wearing masks.”
In upstate New York, some sheriffs say they have no intention of enforcing Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent mandate barring private gatherings of more than 10 people.
“There is no need to hide cars and sneak around during your attempt to gather with family. We are not going to exhaust our limited resources obtaining search warrants and counting the turkey eaters in your house,” Madison County Sheriff Todd Hood said in a Facebook post. He encouraged people in the largely rural area to use common sense to keep themselves safe.
Kim Collins is among those planning a slimmed-down Thanksgiving. In a typical year, Collins would have as many as 20 people at her home in South Orange, New Jersey. This year, her extended family is staying put. “My husband’s having a hard time with the fact that his mom, who’s on her own, won’t be here,” she said.
But Collins wasn’t optimistic that others would be so careful. She said plenty of people are going through “mental gymnastics” to justify their holiday get-togethers. “I think that a lot of people aren’t great at the honor system,” she said.

Categories
employment news

Empowering diversity: how to be an ally at the office

Right now, the nature of diversity in our society is at the forefront of conversation for every business out there. How do we help build companies made up of teams that are truly inclusive? And although “diversity” has been a buzzword for a long time, both organizations and individuals are taking a serious, long-overdue look at what that truly means for them. People of color and people from underrepresented groups have often lead this kind of dialogue in the past, but as we look to boost more voices, it’s more important than ever to be a good ally.

Allies are people who are not necessarily a member of a traditionally underrepresented group, but actively work to support that group. In the workplace, that can feel like an extra uncomfortable conversation, with everyone frequently trying to maintain a professional level of distance from the hard social questions of the day and to avoid awkwardness. Yet collectively, we’ve reached a moment where avoiding the conversation is no longer helpful or possible. If you’re looking for ways to be a better ally in your own workplace, there are several ways to go about it.

Share your platform

When companies try to improve diversity, initially it often takes the form of getting feedback from employees. While all employees have a valuable perspective, one of the primary things you can do as an ally is to ask yourself, “Am I the best person to be speaking to this?” If someone from an underrepresented group would be able to speak more fully to the issue at hand, it’s right to yield the mic to your colleague.

For example, if you’re asked about your perspective on gender issues but you’re part of the majority gender group in the office, pass it off to someone who might have more direct insight. “I do see a lot of inequality here, but I think my colleague T has an interesting perspective on this.” Or if you’re asked to be the lead on something and know that a colleague would be an equal (or better) fit, suggest that person instead. (Of course, don’t blindside your colleagues by putting them on the spot if they’re reluctant. It’s better to discuss it with them beforehand, if possible.)

Be the mediator

We all know that any given workplace is made up of many different personalities—some more verbal and forceful than others. In meetings or other discussions, it’s not uncommon to see some voices dominate, while others are more content to hang back or hesitate. A good ally keeps an eye on all the voices and helps to amplify voices that might not otherwise be heard. Part of that is being a cheerleader: “V made a good point about the sales potential. V, can you expand more on how that would work?”

Being a mediator helps ensure that voices that might otherwise be marginalized are heard and that different perspectives are allowed into the conversation. And if you’re not really a “speak up in the public arena” person yourself, you can still be an ally—invite people to meetings where they can offer insight and gain recognition or give them the chance to speak in other ways (like email) by elevating their voice to people who might not otherwise know them.

Advocate for better representation

“See something, say something.” It’s a cliché, but it’s also a very effective way to be an ally. If you see that someone or a group isn’t being represented in a conversation or decisionmaking process, speak up. The exclusion may not be intentional. It’s possible that the powers that be will say, “Hey, you’re right, we should definitely have X in this conversation.” Or if the exclusion was intentional on some level, this adds public accountability. Those in charge will need to justify their decision to exclude a group from this discussion. Decisions that can affect people of all genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities, races, ages, religions, and physical abilities should have stakeholders across as many of those groups as possible, providing their perspective.

Being an ally goes beyond a hashtag or an “I’m with you” acknowledgment. It may not even be easy, because it involves taking a potentially uncomfortable look at the privilege and exclusion that exists in a place you go every day—and even within yourself. The more active you are in assessing your own behavior and working hard to boost others, the more you’re helping your workplace to be a better and more diverse place.

The post Empowering diversity: how to be an ally at the office appeared first on TheJobNetwork.

Categories
employment news

How to advance your career . . . remotely

Today’s work world is undergoing unbelievably rapid shifts at speeds that would have been completely unpredictable just a year ago, but that’s often an aspect of change—we don’t always see it coming. But those who respond accordingly to it are best positioned to adjust effectively and find a successful path forward, even if that path takes on unexpected twists and turns along the way.

We’re all aware that the entire work world, regardless of your field, is currently in a state of unprecedented flux resulting from a massive jolt of disruptive forces—including a global pandemic that’s impacted every facet of life as well as a tidal wave of technological innovation that’s forcing a rapid evolution in how work and business is conducted on a global scale.

As we make our way through this global historical inflection point, no one has been spared the burden of having to figure out a way to persist and move forward. Everyone, from business leaders at the helms of multi-national corporations, to small business owners, to seasoned executives at the tops of their career ladders, to those who are just getting started in their career journeys, have felt the brunt of these forces and are coping with them on a daily basis. It’s inevitable that history will divide the successful and unsuccessful by those who figure out how to rise to the challenges of this moment and those who grow stagnant and fall behind.

A pivotal shift that’s been happening is the transition to remote work. All of a sudden—literally overnight in many instances—employees across industries and job roles have had to quickly adjust and get comfortable with the notion of working from home. All types of businesses, from lean startups to global corporate juggernauts, have quickly shifted to a telecommuting strategy to stay productive—and many employers have discovered that employees who are well-positioned to shift to remote work can be just as effective or even more so while working at home.

For some, this adjustment was relatively uneventful—in fact, many companies were starting to embrace the notion of telecommuting before the pandemic even struck. For others, the switch has been more of a challenge. Regardless of which side of the remote performance equation you’re currently on, many of us are facing an uncertain future regarding when and if we’ll be returning to an actual physical workspace—and you better believe that business leaders are paying careful attention to who thrives and who doesn’t when it comes to working remotely. Your skills in this area may profoundly impact future employment decisions like promotions, so it makes sense to make every effort to remain a valuable, viable, and effective employee even while working remotely.

If you’re currently navigating the world of remote work and want to figure out how best to position yourself for career advancement, consider the following strategies to help you achieve success.

Increase your visibility

A significant challenge when working remotely is maintaining an appropriate level of professional visibility amongst your colleagues. Simply put, the absence of a shared physical workspace can lead to feelings of “out of sight, out of mind,” which could directly or indirectly affect your work performance and impact your perceived or actual value proposition to employers, especially at a time when companies are embracing an increasingly lean and agile mindset and are learning to do more with smaller remote staffs.

Therefore, it’s in your best interest to use the tools at your disposal to enhance your visibility to the powers that be—including video conferences, phone calls, and email and text exchanges—in an effort to stay connected, build remote equity, and reassert your value as an employee. Be vocal and present as much as appropriately possible, offer ideas and suggestions for projects and new initiatives, come up with creative ways to address issues and solve challenges, and take every opportunity to do so—during meetings and discussions, on team email exchanges, and even when having casual conversations. Enhancing your visibility is a great way to stay top of mind when your bosses are thinking about awarding new responsibilities, roles, and promotions, even when working remotely.

Go above and beyond

Good employees do their jobs well, but great employees go above and beyond and demonstrate a willingness to roll up their sleeves and pitch in to help their teammates and colleagues get things done—which is a great way to highlight your value as an employee and set yourself up for advancement. Although being a great team player and pitching in is typically easier to do in an office or shared workspace, it’s still possible to go above and beyond to support the company while working remotely. You just need to keep your senses sharp and look out for opportunities to pitch in—and jump on them whenever feasible. Trust us, if your employer sees that you’re the sort of worker who routinely takes the initiative to help keep things moving forward, you’ll be setting yourself up for success.

Make a change

Although the work world is currently going through a remote technological evolution, some things still remain the same—including knowing when you’ve learned everything you can in your current position and have reached a ceiling at a company. This is often a signal that it might be time to move on. Although it’s a scary and volatile time to be searching for a new job, you may have reached a point in your career journey where it’s time for a change if advancement is important to you.

Changing jobs to leverage career advancement opportunities is a classic career strategy. Despite a great deal of uncertainty in the professional world, there are new job listings getting posted all the time—and only you can determine when it’s the right time for you to consider grabbing onto the next rung of your career ladder.

The post How to advance your career . . . remotely appeared first on TheJobNetwork.

Categories
employment news

4 things you don’t want to see in a job listing

It’s no stretch to say that today’s job search barely resembles what the process used to look like in generations past. In fact, it’s evolving so rapidly that it hardly looks like it did even just a few years ago. In addition to major shifts in technological innovation that continually disrupt and upend the job search process, companies and employees alike are constantly reimagining what the nature of work even looks like—witness the rise of the gig economy and freelance and project-based employment. And of course, COVID-19 has radically and abruptly altered when, where, and how many of us perform our jobs and engage with our colleagues.

Sure, the nature of work and how we search for—and land—our next jobs are currently in a state of rapid flux, but there are some elements of the job hunt that change at a decidedly slower pace. This includes the basic architecture of a job listing and what to look out for when you’re on the job hunt trail. Just as in all of life’s endeavors, red flags you see while reviewing a job listing can help keep you from making potentially bad employment and career decisions—so it’s in your best interest to keep a sharp eye out and avoid them whenever possible.

The following 4 items are good examples of things you may not want to see in (or missing from) a job listing. While finding or not finding them may not necessarily mean that the job in question is a wrong move, it’s a good idea to keep your senses sharp and stay extra alert to whatever follows in an effort to ensure that your next career move is the right one for you.

Missing salary and benefits information

While it’s long been the case that many employers prefer to refrain from getting into discussions regarding money and perks until an offer is made, times have changed. Today’s employees expect and deserve to know what they’re in for in terms of compensation and benefits before getting too far along in the hiring pipeline, which stands to reason—why waste time on pursuing positions that don’t meet your baseline requirements? Furthermore, if you are a candidate in an in-demand field, lack of information about salary and benefits (or at least some basic details or a general range) may be a sign that an offer will not be competitive. While it may mean nothing, proceed with caution if you fail to see this information in a job listing.

Typos

While no one is perfect and making mistakes is just a part of life, one of the last places you want to encounter errors is in a job listing. Simply put, we only get one chance to make a first impression, and that includes employers. A company’s first impression to potential employers is usually through a job listing. If that first impression is one that includes typos, it may be a bad omen for what’s to come and what working for that company might be like—so be careful.

Unpaid trial work periods

The truth is, you never know what will happen during the hiring process and what hoops a potential employer may ask you to jump through in pursuit of a coveted job offer. It isn’t abnormal to be asked to perform a trial work task without pay, but be sure to use your instincts. If it feels like you’re being taken advantage of and are being asked to do more than what’s reasonable for free, trust your gut feeling and move on.

Requests for personal data

These days, job listings can be found in all sorts of places, including anonymous job boards with less than stellar procedures for verifying employers. Depending on where you search, you may be stepping through a potential minefield of less than reputable listings that are looking to take advantage of overly trusting job candidates. Requests for personal data beyond what’s typically found on a resume should be approached with extreme caution unless there’s a real compelling reason for the request.

Are you on the job hunt trail? If so, stay alert to the 4 items listed here to help guide you away from possible red flags when reviewing job listings and towards a productive and effective job search. Good luck!

The post 4 things you don’t want to see in a job listing appeared first on TheJobNetwork.

Categories
employment news

Writing more effective job descriptions

Job descriptions may seem like one of the most straightforward parts of recruiting and hiring: you list what’s expected and what skills and experience you want, then you proofread and release it to the winds. It’s a necessary part of the process, but maybe not the one you spend the most time or attention doing. However, like with everything else in recruiting, there’s an art to job descriptions. With finding the best talent getting ever more competitive, your job descriptions should be as dynamic, effective, appealing, and informative as possible—in a relatively small space.

Know what (and whom) you’re seeking

Many hiring managers and HR professionals see a job description as a basic checklist of tasks and roles that the new employee will need to fulfill. When you’re thinking about what to include in a job description, don’t just think about the tasks and top-line responsibilities. What work are you expecting to be done in this role? What will this person be achieving for your organization? That helps reframe the job description as not just the what, but also the why.

Thinking about the work itself (and the goals) can also help you get to a more robust description of the job. Instead of relying on later conversations or interviews to flesh out the job, having more information and realistic bullets about the job can help you set a clearer expectation for the role. That will lead to getting better, more qualified people responding to your ad.

Be descriptive about the candidate you want

Space can be at a premium in a job description, so it’s important to emphasize the necessary elements in a successful candidate. Instead of limiting it to basic things like education level or years of experience, think about the most important skills or elements of experience needed for the role. For example, does this job really need someone with a master’s degree? Or are you really looking for someone with a particular skill set instead of a diploma?

This can also help you make a more inclusive job description. For many otherwise qualified candidates who have good skills, experience, and the potential to grow into a role, arbitrary requirements on a job description can be a barrier that keeps them from applying in the first place. Would you be willing to hire someone who didn’t have internship experience? Is there a significant difference between someone with four years’ experience versus seven? When writing your job description, think about the entry requirements you’re putting in place. Make sure that they’re both necessary for the job and descriptive enough to help a reader determine whether they should apply or not.

Be clear on the expectations for the new hire

Remember that you’re not just trying to get someone in the door—you’re working hard to make sure you’re getting the right person to join and contribute to your organization for a long time to come. An effective job description should include information (if only a sentence or a few bullets) that outline what kind of performance metrics the person would need to meet in, say, the first 90 days or the first year.

Show off your employer brand

You’re shopping for a new hire, but the new hire is also shopping for a company. A great job description includes a few lines about your organization and what it can offer. Salary (or salary range) and benefits should be included, but also make sure to include bullets about your company’s values, mission, or culture.

The best job descriptions go beyond the bare basics of the job itself. It’s about how the role fits into the company as a whole, what the person will really be working on once they join your organization, and what attributes the right candidate will have. The more care you put into this description now, the better your recruiting results will be.

The post Writing more effective job descriptions appeared first on TheJobNetwork.

Categories
employment news

Getting your resume ready for your next career move

These days, it can feel like a lot is in the air—especially with your job and overall career. Many of you are concerned about job stability or are working in industries going through major upheaval right now. Or maybe you’re simply thinking about changing things up. Either way, it’s crucial to have your resume updated, airtight, and ready to go—and if you’re changing fields that can be extra challenging. Read on for some key tips to help you craft and refine your resume for whatever change you seek.

Showcase your transferrable skills

Whether you’re looking for a slightly different job description or moving into a totally new area, it may feel like you’re starting from scratch. And experience-wise, you might be. But you do have a secret weapon you can use on your resume: transferrable skills. Before you sit down to write out your new and improved resume, think about what skills you already have.

Hard skills like certification, training on specific processes or software, or specific education are always great. But don’t forget soft skills like communication, leadership, project management, project management, and organization. These move with you wherever you go and can show how adaptable you are.

When detailing your skills, make sure to list the ones most relevant to the job for which you’re applying and to have relevant examples of these skills ready to go for a potential interview. You want to be able to demonstrate how what you already have makes you uniquely qualified for this new role, even if you don’t have traditional experience yet.

Build any skills you can

Moving into a new field means new skills will be necessary (or helpful) in landing your next job. To get a sense of what you’ll need, browse as many job descriptions in the industry as you can—and not just the ones for which you’d be immediately qualified. You’ll not only get a sense of what you’ll need for entry-level jobs, but also of what your future might look like. If you know you’re not very experienced or educated in a particular area now but the job that’s two levels up needs specific expertise, you can plan for that and start researching, taking classes, or finding other ways to build what you’ll need later.

Ideally, you’d be able to develop any skills, take any classes, etc., before you need them on a job search. Sometimes, however, life has different plans. If you’re revamping your resume now while you’re trying to actively look for a new job, build in time to work on your skills, or take classes online or at a local community college. It’s okay to list things that are in progress. The important things are showing growth, current status, and investment.

Use the right keywords

One of the easiest, most efficient ways to make your resume more on target is to use the right keywords. Many HR departments are using automated software to pre-screen resumes, and keywords are a big part of that. This doesn’t mean you should use a checklist of buzzwords, but you can use relevant words throughout to make sure that you’re aligning with what the hiring company is seeking. To find the “right” words, look closely at job descriptions—both the one for which you’re applying and others in the field. What words come up most often? Which ones are featured most prominently? Using appropriate terms can really help your resume stand out.

Find a resume format that works best for you

The most common resume format is the traditional one: work experience front and center, listed in reverse chronological order back through your working life. But that doesn’t mean you have to use that format. On the contrary, your resume should be a document that shows your key strengths most prominently. No one is going to ding you for not having the same exact format as everyone else.

Instead, you might want to use a skills-forward format, putting your most relevant skills and examples first before the work experience. That helps frame your resume for the reader, showing them that you have background qualifications and understand what’s needed for the job. 

If you’re rewriting your resume for a big career change, it’s best to rethink and rewrite it from scratch rather than update a few dates in your old resume and call it a day. By putting some time and thought into what you’re showcasing and how you’re formatting it, you can help overcome gaps in experience.

The post Getting your resume ready for your next career move appeared first on TheJobNetwork.

Categories
employment news

Need a future-proof job? These 3 industries are always hiring

It’s no overstatement to say that today’s job market is more volatile than it has ever been before. The global pandemic has completely disrupted the way companies of all sizes and across all industries are doing business, and they’re continually adopting new and creative strategies to stay profitable in an extremely uncertain environment—which may mean revisions to staffing and hiring strategies.

Companies are utilizing an increasingly lean, remote, and agile mindset when it comes to meeting their needs are continually pivoting as needed—which is having a significant impact on employees and job hunters. The anxiety around finding and retaining stable employment has never been higher, and for good reason. All of this change and uncertainty may have already disrupted your previous employment and led you to run in search of more stable ground when it comes to finding and holding on to your next job.

Although there’s no such thing as guaranteed employment, there are certain industries that are more future-proof and resistant to external forces—whether a global pandemic or other disruptive conditions—than others. If you’re able to secure a job in one of the 3 following fields, your chances of weathering any oncoming storms in the future are likely better than average.

Delivery services

Regardless of the weather or state of the world, people are always going to need a whole host of things delivered to their doorsteps to meet their needs and make their busy lives easier. In fact, the need for reliable delivery only increases when things are bad—we all know how essential delivery services were through the first few trying months of the pandemic.

The good news is that there are a wide range of employment options available in the delivery space—everything from food to retail package delivery and many things in between. If you look into this job category, chances are you’ll be able to hang onto your job through any future rocky patches.

Tech

One of the most resilient and shock-proof fields during the global pandemic, and a field that has exhibited consistent growth over the past several decades, is the tech industry. Simply put, when unexpected events occur and impact businesses, they increasingly turn to technology to help solve problems and determine new ways to pivot and adjust accordingly.

Tech will continue to empower companies across all industries to innovate and lead them into the future. Doesn’t that sound like a mission worth joining? There are a wide range of employment opportunities available at tech companies, and the level of technical savvy and knowhow required for these jobs also varies considerably—so, there’s likely something for nearly everyone based on experience and ability. A bonus: pursuing this industry may kickstart a desire to head back to school or embark upon a training program to enhance your skill set and open new doors for career growth.

Healthcare

Regardless of the current state of the world or what happens in the future, there’s always going to be one unavoidable constant: people will continue to need access to healthcare, and the profession will always need talented and dedicated individuals to ensure the health and well-being of the population. The global pandemic crystallized the importance of having a sufficient number of healthcare professionals to help meet the needs of the people they serve. This means that career opportunities in the healthcare field—from nursing, to pharmaceuticals, to medical technicians, and everything in between—will continue to remain abundant and available.

If you’re in search of a “future-proof” job, consider the 3 fields mentioned here to help you add some extra stability to your career path and open yourself up to a wealth of new opportunities. Good luck!

The post Need a future-proof job? These 3 industries are always hiring appeared first on TheJobNetwork.