Feature: The Re-Beginners
Every person in transition has their own unique set of attributes and circumstances that define the nature of the challenge they face in finding a new or better job. Some job seekers have hard-to-find skills and move quickly from one employment situation to another. Others experience a far more difficult journey, complicated by age, gender or ethnic prejudice. And, still others battle to reenter the workforce after an absence caused by a family or personal commitment. I call this last group, the re-beginners. They are growing in number and finding it ever harder to regain their careers.
Re-beginners are people who have put their careers on hold to care for elderly family members or to raise young children. They constitute one of the fastest growing segments of the workforce as women choose to have children later in life, men choose to be more engaged in the lives of their kids, and both choose to assist parents and other relatives who are now living longer. Their commitment, while noble, leaves a gaping hole in their resume that employers-despite their platitudes about family values-are loath to accept. If all other attributes are equal among a group of candidates (and often, even if they’re not), recruiters and hiring managers will always select the candidate with an unbroken work history.
But, why call these people re-beginners? Why not simply call them returners? I believe they’re re-beginners because that term is a more accurate description of their status. Coming back into the job market after a lengthy absence from the workplace (5 or more years) means they are essentially starting all over again. It would be nice if that were not so, but the reality is that the gap in work pushes them back to square one, not in terms of the experience they can offer an employer, but in terms of their perceived ability to contribute on-the-job. The key to success, therefore, is to find ways to change that perception.
If you’re a re-beginner, what can you do to close the gap-to improve your chances of being recognized as a high value prospective employee? Felicitously, there are several actions you can take that are likely to help. They fall into two categories:
You’ll get the best results if you do both: prepare for your return to the workforce during the gap in your employment, even if that return is five or ten years ahead, and take the extra steps necessary to minimize the importance of the gap while you’re in transition. However, if the hole in your resume already exists, doing just those activities that can be accomplished during an active job search will still be helpful.
Re-Beginner Preparation During the Gap
Re-Beginner Preparation After the Gap
Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet to correcting employers’ and recruiters’ negative perception of a gap in employment. There are some practical steps you can take, however, to change the way they see you and your gap. Think of it as a re-beginning for your career, a way to make you and your potential contribution greater than the hole in your resume.
Thanks for reading,
P.S. Remember what you learned in kindergarten: It’s nice to share. Don’t keep WEDDLE’s to yourself. If you like our newsletter, please tell your friends and colleagues about it. They’ll appreciate your thinking of them. And, we will too!
Section Two: Site News You Can Use
The Conference Board released a list of the top ten occupations that were advertised online in the U.S. between January and September, 2006. They are:
What’s significant about the list? Its breadth. It covers exempt and nonexempt positions, entry level jobs and those that require experienced professionals, management and staff positions and technical and non-technical positions, openings that are local and do not provide relocation as well as those that are not limited to local candidates and are likely to provide paid relocation. In sort, it’s as rich and diverse an array of possibilities as you’ll find anywhere during a job search.
The Global Rich List offers a free way for you to see just how well your pay stacks up with other workers in the U.S. and around the world. Enter your annual salary, and the calculator will determine your global wealth ranking and percentile. For example, if you make $51,250 per year, you would rank as the 58,543,933 richest person living on the planet and be among the wealthiest 1% of all humans (despite how you may feel when you pay your bills each month). Lest you think this site is just an exercise in self-congratulatory behavior, however, as soon as it gets you feeling good about yourself-with over 6,500,000,000 people on earth, number 58 million looks pretty good-the site asks you to contribute to a charity and help others around the world who are not so well off. It’s a nifty way, particularly at this time of year, to encourage us all to remember others who are less fortunate than we.
Mercer Human Resource Consulting LLC published the results of its survey of those occupations where recruiters are most likely to offer a signing bonus. Who gets shown the money? Among 950 U.S. employers:
Just because a company pays signing bonuses in your field, however, doesn’t mean you will be offered one. How can you improve your odds of seeing the money? Be at the top of your game in your profession, craft or trade. Be able to articulate, clearly and persuasively, the contribution you can make to the organization. And be personable and polite during the recruiting process. Landing a job is a competition, and landing a bonus is playing for the championship.
PennTechJobs was launched by PennWell Corporation as an employment resource for engineers seeking opportunities in the following industries: communications, electronics, photonics, optoelectronics, military aerospace, nanotechnology and semiconductor manufacturing. The site offers free access to a job board, a resume database, a salary wizard, a cost-of-living calculator, and a job agent. PennTechJobs.com is a member of the International Association of Employment Web Sites, the standard setting trade organization of the job board industry.
Robert Half Finance and Accounting surveyed Chief Financial Officers and found that 87% consider the length of time a person has spent at their other jobs when evaluating them as an employment candidate. Does that mean they don’t believe in people making job changes? Absolutely not. It means they may worry about your reliability if you have changed jobs in the wrong way or for the wrong reason. What would raise a question in their eyes? Changing jobs rapidly and without any sign of professional advancement-additional responsibilities, the application of your skills in a new area. Changing jobs, for example, merely to get a small increase in pay or a slightly shorter commute. Do that, and they are likely to see you as a “job hopper” and look to someone else when filling their openings.
Section Three: Site Profiles
Site Insite … how well do you know the Web’s 40,000+ job boards?
1. You’re in transition and in the Holiday spirit. Where could you go online if you’d like to take a part time job as a Santa Claus at a local store or mall near your home in Georgia?
2. You’re a professional truck driver who’s just come off disability and want to get back into the cab as soon as possible. Which of the following sites would steer you to appropriate employment opportunities?
3. You’re an experienced florist who’s just moved to Sacramento, California. Which of the following sites would likely nurture some great job prospects for you with local businesses?
Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guides and Directories
Post full time jobs: Yes
Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes – All
Distribution of jobs: National – USA
Number of jobs: 2,000
Salary levels of jobs: Up to $150K/yr
Offer a job agent: Yes
Resume database: Yes
How long are resumes stored: 60 days
Restrictions on who can post: Anyone with a disability
Other services for job seekers: Assessment instruments, Links to other sites with job search/career resources
Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: No
Answers to Site Insite
1. Either SantaforHire.com or SouthernSantas.com; both JollyElf.com and Santa4You are sites of working Santas who are looking for additional gigs.
2. All of them.
3. Only BloomingGoodJobs; Agriseek.com focuses on the Canadian market, BestGrowers.com is the site of a Dutch server management company, and BestofBuds.com is a “computer music resource center.”