What Are the Most Effective Job Sites, and Are They Enough?

All job sites are definitely not created equal; some are much more effective than others. The information on these sites can help you find out who is hiring, what those companies are looking for and what their work environments are like. But they are just the beginning of the job search process. When you have a list of places and positions you’re interested in, the real fun begins! More on that in a bit.

Reviews.com

First, let’s take a look at a summary of a Reviews.com article that lists the best websites for job seekers. Then we’ll discuss what to do once you’ve found the jobs that interest you. Reviews.com is an independent research company that spent six weeks evaluating job sites to determine which ones are most effective for a productive job search. A summary follows; their free, in-depth review can be found here. And thanks to the folks at Reviews.com for sharing this information.

Job Site Reviews

Glassdoor

With an average of 22 new posts per day, Glassdoor is by far the most active website for job seekers. However, Glassdoor is much more than a recruitment website; it allows companies to establish profiles containing detailed information about salaries as well as reviews from past and current employees.

Users don’t need to create an account to search for jobs, but the benefits of signing up are well worth a few seconds of your time. Many employer profiles contain a “Why Work for Us?” section, which lets companies upload photos and videos that showcase their work environment. Glassdoor also has a handy mobile app containing all of the same features found on the website.

Indeed

Sometimes less is more, which is the philosophy behind Indeed’s bare-bones approach to job hunting. The website is simply a search engine for jobs, but it is the most comprehensive of its kind. Indeed is second only to Glassdoor in terms of frequency of postings. Employers appreciate Indeed because posting jobs doesn’t cost anything.

One advantage Indeed offers that Glassdoor doesn’t is a wealth of search filters. You can sort through opportunities based on industry, salary, experience requirements, and more. Indeed also features a salary calculator that uses data collected from previous employees. This can be extremely helpful when it comes to negotiating a salary.

LinkedIn

While LinkedIn isn’t known for having an abundance of job postings, the professional networking website is where most recruiters now look to find qualified candidates. A 2015 survey found that more than half of employers use social media profiles as part of their screening process, which is why you should be careful about what you post online.

Don’t think of your LinkedIn profile as an online resume; customize it to sell yourself as a professional. Participate in discussion forums and take advantage of the messaging feature to make contacts who might eventually help you get your foot in the door.

Honorable Mentions

In addition to recommending niche job sites for individual industries, Reviews.com found the following services to be helpful for some job seekers.

JobisJob: For those looking for jobs all around the globe, JobisJob features a geographic hot spot tool that identifies regions where job markets are thriving.

Dice: For those looking for STEM jobs, specifically in the industries of technology, financial services, and health care.

MediaBistro: Useful for freelancer writers and other professionals looking for work in journalism, advertising, marketing, or PR.

Snagajob: Useful for individuals seeking part-time work and hourly jobs.

Next, the Real Fun Begins: Using Rapid Relationship and Trust Building to Land the Job You Want

Submitting applications through job sites is a great way to start. But if that’s all you do, you may as well be tossing your resume into the void. Studies have revealed that most employers spend only a few seconds looking at resumes when they have hundreds of applicants before them. Submitting your application and just waiting to hear back is a recipe for failure. “For every one person hired through an online job application program, 12 are hired by an internal referral,” claims Steve Dalton, program director for Daytime Career Services at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He adds, “The literal information you find in online job postings is not that helpful, but the information that the postings suggest is very helpful.”

The best approach for maximizing your job search is to begin with job sites and then move into what I call rapid relationship and trust building to gain traction in the field you target. In my book Job Quest: How to Become the Insider Who Gets Hired, I spell out how to create the connections that give you a tremendous advantage when it comes to landing jobs. I explain how to create personal relationships with those known and trusted by the workplace, and how that can open the doors.

In my book, I break the process down into a series of concrete, easy-to-follow steps using a game approach and an analogy to a medieval quest to help you understand what to look for and how to move forward in your search. I explain what luck has to do with it (and how to create your own), how to prepare for the quest, how to get around the resume-blocking gatekeepers (the dragons who guard the hiring managers), how to find key people to connect with (your knights and wizards), what to say once you connect with them, how to continue building your connections, how to interview, when to start using the word “job,” when to go for the close, and how to give back to your connections.

Feel free to read more about this process here, and read an excerpt of the first chapter, The Insider Advantage, here.

Handling the Shock of the Presidential Election

As a career counselor, I don’t normally write about politics, but these are unusual times, and I felt that it was important to share my thoughts. I know that my views won’t align with those of some of my clients, but I wanted to write this precisely because so many of my other clients are very upset and anxious about what this election may mean to them personally and to the country.

This presidential election has left many of us shocked, upset, and worried.

Trump

Psychiatrists and psychologists are seeing an upsurge in depression in the wake of this election. Part of the shock is the result of polls that were so wrong. In the span of a few hours as the returns came in, the Trump effect melted away Clinton’s hopes and the hopes of most Democrats for the further development of a progressive agenda in our country. But it is more than that.

In my office building, riding on the elevator, there have been a number of occasions where fellow passengers, seeing the Hillary Clinton pin on my coat, started a conversation about how upset they are, how they cannot sleep at night, and how they are fearful of what is going to happen in this country.

Tammy Duckworth, our newly elected junior Senator from Illinois, reported that the day after the election she was out in the city of Chicago to thank her voters and many of them came up to her crying and asking her for reassurance and a hug. They expressed their fear to her about what Trump would do as president.

This is not a normal response to an election. If any other Republican had won, people would not be this fearful and disturbed.

Trump has used extremely divisive and harsh rhetoric that has ignited the alt-right and KKK. Based on his picks for cabinet posts, he has made a deal with right wing Republicans. He will enact their agenda despite his populist rhetoric on the campaign trail, while they will look the other way when it comes to his ethics violations, and even perhaps, his collaboration with Russia to win the election by hacking the Democrats and disseminating false news, fake news, and WikiLeaks dumps to excite and distract the media.

Trump’s win has shaken our values and beliefs to the core. His actions and words go against so much of what we teach our children about how to behave to succeed at work and at home. We tell our children not to insult, cheat, or lie, and to follow the rules and avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Trump does not follow the rules. He insults, he cheats, he lies, he refuses to release his taxes, and he is unwilling to divest himself of his business interests. This is a clear violation of the Emoluments Clause of the United States Constitution which forbids the acceptance of gifts to a president from a foreign government. The remedy is impeachment. He doesn’t care.

Trump admires Putin and other dictators and demagogues. There are serious questions and concerns about how much the Trump campaign may have colluded with the Russians, a hostile foreign government, to win this election. What was Trump appointee, General Michael Flynn, doing on the phone talking with operatives in Moscow the day before Obama sanctioned the Russians? What are his financial ties or debts to Russian oligarchs? He refuses to reveal his taxes to the American people. What is he hiding?

John Lewis has decided not to go to the inauguration and has said he does not believe that Trump’s election is legitimate. President Obama has urged us to take the long view. He says that we should give Trump a chance, because if he succeeds then we all succeed. While it is good to be open-minded, we should not be naïve. Trump is poised to become the first leader of our country who could alter our government by changing it into what is termed an illiberal democracy. Democracy relies on cultural norms of compromise and civility and many of these norms have been weakened by strident rhetoric as well as a refusal to play by the rules as evidenced by some congressional Republicans. For example, Republicans broke with tradition and norms by refusing to give Obama’s eminently qualified Supreme Court pick, Judge Merrick Garland, so much as a hearing.

In illiberal democracies there is a so-called popular vote to elect the leader but it is usually a sham because it is accompanied by the loss of freedoms and rights that are the hallmarks of a true democracy, including the loss of free speech, the right to assemble and dissent, and the loss of other freedoms we have enjoyed in our country since it was created.

The free press is usually the first casualty. News becomes mere propaganda rather than accurate and informative. That could happen here because Trump uses Twitter to avoid exposing himself to the press and their penetrating and uncomfortable questions. He tells his followers not to believe the mainstream media, and demands that everyone accept his version of reality. He has chosen to install Steve Bannon in the White House, a notorious purveyor of slanted news and misinformation. He surrounds himself with surrogates who apologize for his every move even if his action or statement is patently ill-advised. His many trolls on Twitter act like a mob, defending him whenever he is criticized. In a true democracy, the President is always criticized. It is a First Amendment right that our press should exercise. But Trump is very thin-skinned, and he retaliates against people who say negative things about him. We will need to support journalists and newspapers that are reliable sources of information so that they are not compromised or shut down. And there is more we can do.

One of the best ways to deal with worry or concern is to get active and “become the change we need.” Rise up! Join Indivisible, a group that is planning to push back against the Trump agenda using the very effective tactics developed by the Tea Party. Join and get active with local groups online and in your own community. Write letters and make calls to Congressmen and women, both Republicans and Democrats, to insist on decency and fairness and initiatives that help all Americans. A public outcry can make a difference.

This election has been a wake-up call. For some of us it feels more like we woke up in the middle of a nightmare and can’t get back to reality. Cherished institutions and beliefs, including civility and honesty, ethics, fair treatment, and truthfulness that are the hallmark and bedrock of our democracy and our workplaces, will be tested by this incoming administration.

Stay vigilant. And reach out, across our divided country to listen and care about other Americans no matter who they voted for. Those folks who think Trump will bring back their jobs in coal country and the rust belt are in for a big disappointment. It looks like they, along with millions of other Americans, could also lose their health insurance as Republicans rush to dismantle the Affordable Care Act without a viable replacement. People who voted for Trump thinking he was their populist hero are going to have a very tough time once Trump and the Republicans implement their likely agenda which rewards the 1% and removes supports and the way forward for everyone else. We are all going to have a difficult time of it if Trump’s many cabinet picks deconstruct the departments they are supposed to oversee, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Treasury, Education, and many others. In Hamilton the musical there is a line that is relevant for this moment in history: “Oceans rise. Empires fall.” Change is happening in our country. We really might fall. We stand to lose a lot with the Trump administration. But it is not a foregone conclusion that we will. It is possible that Trump will surprise many of us and rise to the occasion as our 45th President by preserving and protecting our democracy. If not, “We the People” can do what has to be done in a vital, thriving democracy: namely participate and get engaged to preserve and protect the values and norms that make our nation the envy of every other nation on Earth.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

What Can Trevor Noah Tell You About How To Find a Good Career Path?

Trevor Noah Born a CrimeTrevor Noah, the host who replaced John Stewart on The Daily Show, has written an extraordinary book about his experiences growing up in South Africa. The title of the book is Trevor Noah: Born a Crime. I enthusiastically recommend it!

Trevor Noah was the offspring of a South African mother and a white man who was her friend but not her husband, at a time when in South Africa, relations between the two races was against the law. He was raised by his adventurous, rule-defying, and yet deeply religious, caring, and wise mother. She taught him not to believe in limits.

“My mother took me places black people never went. She refused to be bound by ridiculous ideas of what black people couldn’t or shouldn’t do. She’d take me to the ice rink to go skating. Johannesburg used to have this epic drive-in movie theater, Top Star Drive-In, on top of a massive mine dump outside the city. She’d take me to movies there; we’d get snacks, hang the speaker on our car window. Top Star had a 360-degree view of the city, the suburbs, Soweto. Up there I could see for miles in every direction. I felt like I was on top of the world. My Mom raised me as if there were no limitations on where I could go or what I could do.”

This wonderful image and great insight explains so much about how Trevor Noah could come from apartheid South Africa, where he was only able to make it as a local hustler in the ‘hood in his early adult life, to become the talented, creative and quick-witted host of The Daily Show.

Trevor Noah writes this:

“We tell people to follow their dreams, but you can only dream what you can imagine, and, depending on where you come from, your imagination can be quite limited.”

This is true for so many people. When I work with clients to figure out a better career direction, one of the first things we do is to imagine a different future, one that plays to their strengths. I ask them to imagine a workplace they would want to go to every day. I ask them to think about a mission or missions that excite them. We talk about what they would do if they won the lottery. We talk about how they would fix their present job. We mine their pasts for information that will unearth strong interests and motivators, as well as aptitudes or natural talents that will help them rise to the top of their chosen field. This doesn’t always get them everything they want, but usually gets them a lot closer to a work life they will enjoy.

If you have not had the experience of imagining a different and better future for yourself, it can be very hard to dream of a career that goes beyond the norm you know in the corner of the world where you live and grow up. Ask yourself what you want to do in life and then stretch that idea further. If you can dream it, you can try to work your way toward it. Identify the goal, and then plan the steps you want to take and start out on that path. Even if you do not end up getting to the exact goal you set, you are on a new and challenging path, which is in itself more gratifying.

I counsel many people who, when looking forward to an alternative career will say, “I cannot imagine being able to achieve the goal I am setting.” But I also counsel many people who, looking back on their lives say, “I am amazed about what I have accomplished in my life. Who would have thought I would someday be the head of the Chicago Bar Association?” “Who would have thought that someday I would be able to run this company and have it be a success?” “Who would have thought that I could become a well-known broadcast journalist?” “Who would have believed I would be able to write blockbuster novels?”

I want to be clear. Just because you have an idea of what you want to accomplish in your career doesn’t mean that you will actually get there. But often the goal is less important than you might think, because the process itself is also gratifying.

In my own life, when I was in college, I watched some of the Chicago Seven Trial in federal court. After that, I got it in my head that I wanted to be an Assistant US Attorney. At that time being a prosecutor was not considered to be a viable career path for a woman. It was a goal that was beyond the range of what I thought was possible. But after seeing a few days of that federal trial, I was so excited, I didn’t care that it was not supposed to be a good career for a woman. I did not know I would actually be able to achieve my goal, but I took the necessary steps to try to get there by studying hard for and taking the LSAT, going to law school, landing a job as an Assistant State’s Attorney, and working in the Official Misconduct Unit because it was similar to the work done by federal prosecutors. I also networked in a creative way to meet key people who could help me interview at the U.S. Attorney’s Office. I am happy to say I was able to achieve my goal, and it was a fulfilling job. But even if I had never become an Assistant US Attorney, I had decided on a path I believed in and felt challenged by, and that was gratifying in itself. If you believe in the road you are on, the journey is actually part of the reward.

As Trevor Noah says:

“… the highest rung of what’s possible is far beyond the world you can see.”

So dream beyond the highest rung! You might surprise yourself.

Five Steps to Reach Your Career Transition Goal

Last year I was diagnosed with cancer. It was caught early, but I had to go through an operation followed by six weeks of radiation. After that, I had to be on a medication that prevents the further microscopic spread of the cancer, and I have to take hormone suppressant pills for five years.

steps to career success

When I talked with my oncologist about how to stay healthy and active, he told me to increase my aerobic exercise to 30 minutes a day because research has shown that aerobic exercise for at least a half hour every day works almost as well as the medication to prevent a return of this kind of cancer. He also said that the medication makes most people feel tired, but the best way to deal with that is to exercise. “You will have more energy if you exercise,” he promised.

When I heard my doctor say that exercise could prevent a recurrence and counteract the tiredness I already experienced on the medication, I was motivated to find a way to work out every day. But I also know how much I hate aerobic exercise! How could I get myself to work out at least 30 minutes a day and keep it going? I needed to figure out a way to set this goal and keep it.

Now, a year later, I can tell you about what worked, because it did work. And I can hope that these steps will work for you too if you are working on a career transition. Most people hate to network even though they know they need to if they want to transition to a new job or a new career. Here are five steps that helped me and that might help you too.

Step One: Identify a Motivator

If you are interested in or excited about something, use it as a motivator. When I dragged out my elliptical, which had been sitting in a corner of my exercise room getting dusty and generating guilt instead of sweat, I knew that if I set up a playlist of fast and slower music, I had a chance of carrying through a daily routine. The key was the music. I had to like the music and I had to have different tempos so that I would push myself to get my heart rate up but then give myself a break so I wasn’t too exhausted. I searched for good music and downloaded songs I loved. I set up a 30 minute playlist and started with slower beats at first. As time went on, I added faster tempos as I got more accustomed to the pace. I decided that my goal would be to get my heart rate up for the full 30 minutes in the range of 130 beats to 150 beats per minute depending on the song. I was interested to see if I could make that goal a reality.

Step Two: Envision the Activity

There have been many days when I have felt too tired to exercise. But I told myself I had to do it anyway. So I would envision myself on the elliptical and think about how I would move off the couch and get on the equipment. Envisioning myself moving from the couch to the machine and then doing the workout before I did it actually helped me to get going. The same thing is true for your career. When you imagine yourself doing something, if even it is something you do not enjoy, that active imagining can motivate you to get moving on your plan to reach your goal.

Step Three: Coach Yourself or Get a Coach

I would talk to myself and say something encouraging. “All you have to do is get on the elliptical and turn on the music. That is easy. You can do that.” While I was on the elliptical, there were times I was very tired. So my inner coach would say something like,” Look, you are saving your life by doing this! You are getting your heart in better shape so you can dance at your daughter’s wedding.” And sometimes, when I felt really tired, the only thing I could think of to say to myself was, “After you are done with this, you can fall on the floor and sleep. Just finish this and you can collapse.” The inner coach is a big part of your career success too. If you can encourage yourself instead of discouraging yourself, it makes a tremendous difference in your ability to grit it out. Do you need to go back to school to get a degree that makes you more marketable? Do you need to talk with a lot of people to find out the lay of the land and hear about opportunities that might work for you? Talk yourself into it. It is crucial that you have a positive inner voice to keep you going. Sometimes the inner voice might be yelling at you too. Most people need a mix of those two internal coaching voices. Some people get enough from their own positive self-talk. Others need another person to coach them. If you need to hire that help, though, do it. Making a career transition is not easy.

Step Four: Manage Failure

There were days I could not talk myself into exercising. I had to take a pass. I could call myself names because I failed to do what I said I would do, or I could think about it as a challenge for tomorrow and reaffirm my goal for the next day. I tried to make it into a challenge even though I didn’t always succeed in doing that. Managing failure in a career transition is important too. You may have hoped that after many years of working as a paralegal or doing document review, you could find a full time job working as an attorney, but every time you get an interview, it’s for another position doing the same thing you have done before. That can be discouraging. But if you reaffirm an achievable goal and keep at it, getting the additional skills that would help redefine you, or networking more effectively, you will be more likely to transition your career over time. Manage failure by reasserting your intention to get to your goal.

Step Five: Take Baby Steps

When I first began the 30 minute workouts on the elliptical, I started slowly because I wanted to be sure I did not get too discouraged. You use new muscles whenever you start something new. That’s true for your career transition too. If you keep your goal in mind and take small steps in that direction, you have a better chance of being successful. Doing something new uses a different set of skills that you can hone over time. Is it hard for you to have lunch meetings with people and ask them to brainstorm with you? Is it hard to feel comfortable asking for help by saying, “If you were me, who would you want to talk with, and would you be willing to introduce me by email or on LinkedIn so that I can talk with that person?” If that is very hard for you to do, then practice with friends and family before you talk with someone you have never met before. Small steps make it easier to make progress.

Identifying your motivators, envisioning yourself doing what you want to do, training your inner coach, managing failure, and taking small steps in the right direction can help you get to your goal. These strategies helped me get through a tough year and achieve my goal. I hope they help you too.

The Mystery of the Screaming Partner

As an executive coach, I work with many people who are causing problems in the workplace. They are not getting along well with others, so they are sent to work with me to try to fix the problem.

screaming womanWhen people in high places have personal problems that stir up issues in the workplace, the effect can reverberate. I have often found that the source of the problem is something deeply personal that gets imported and played out in the work setting.

A number of years ago I worked with a partner sent to me by her law firm. She was valuable to the firm because she was the head of a practice area that the firm was trying to expand, and she had a large number of loyal clients. The firm wanted to keep her on board as a partner, but associates and staff who worked with her complained that she had a dysfunctional management style. She was disorganized, and often gave associates work to do at the last minute on Fridays, which meant that they could not get to the Cubs game or the wedding that they had planned. She had a “hair on fire” culture in her practice group, and she screamed at her associates and was annoyed and irritable with them.

Associates complained that she gave them negative, unfair reviews which other partners did not. Many associates asked not to work with her or asked to be assigned to a different practice group. When this partner threw a book at an associate, narrowly missing him, it was the last straw. The human resources/professional development team sent her to work with me.

Why does someone behave this way? Whenever I begin working with anyone in executive coaching, I begin with a mystery. What is going on that prompted this behavior? What are the contributing factors? What is this person thinking? Why is this happening now?

When I first met with this partner she was angry and annoyed about being sent to work with me on her “remedial people skills.” She was thinking about quitting and taking her clients her to another firm. To her credit, she was willing to be open to the coaching process. I was able to create a relationship with her by drawing her out, hearing about her issues and concerns, and affirming her.

I learned that this partner lived to work. She never married and never had children. Her clients were incredibly important to her and she was devoted to them. Work gave her a sense of purpose and self-worth. Working on the weekends and late at night actually helped her to fill her life.

Her associates, typically Millennials, had a different perspective. They wanted to work hard during the week but have fun on the weekends with their friends and family. She had no respect for that; she had always put work first. Also, her most reliable associate was a woman who had just gotten married and was having a problem pregnancy that caused her to cut back her hours.

However, to have a well-run, supportive team, this partner needed her associates to want to work with her and for her. It was in her self-interest to make some alterations in the way she worked with her staff. She agreed with that assessment. I told her it was important for us to really understand where her anger was coming from.

We talked about some of her deeper needs and concerns. She was worried and anxious about losing her clients. Some of her clients were very demanding. To please them, she would try to get them answers to their questions as fast as possible so that they would see how responsive she was. That resulted in last minute assignments to her associates.

We talked about her annoyance with Millennials, who she thought put fun before work. She confessed that she wasn’t just annoyed, she was jealous of them. They had a life outside of work. She had put her work life front and center and why shouldn’t they do the same?

When it came to the associate with the problem pregnancy she confessed that she felt abandoned by this associate. She had not had children but there was a part of her that felt sad about that. To her credit she was able to talk about it with touching honesty.

She felt a lot of contradictory things: anger that she was being “abandoned” by the associates, jealousy because they had fuller lives than she did, pride that she was a better worker than they were, worry and fear that her clients would leave her if she did not respond to their needs immediately, and irritation about having been asked to behave differently, not to mention upset about having so many feelings roiling her psychologically.

It all bubbled over the day she threw the book. That day, she learned an associate would not be available to help her over the weekend, and the pregnant female associate asked to be reduced to part-time work status. The partner felt abandoned by her team. While not excusing what she did, it helped us to understand why she did it. It helped to solve the mystery.

We set some goals, and as we met over time, she worked to implement them. Some were very simple. I encouraged her to talk with her associates about how their contribution mattered. I encouraged her to thank her associates, especially if they worked over the weekend or late at night. When it came to those weekend assignments, I worked with her on a number of organizational strategies that allowed her to pace the work she gave to her team and avoid most of the late Friday afternoon assignments. We talked about how realistic or unrealistic it was to worry about losing her clients if they did not get a rapid response. And she agreed the concern was more of a worry and not a reality. We worked on a strategy to deal with her anxiety using a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) intervention: identify the negative thought, challenge the negative thought, and replace the negative thought. And then we worked on a way to talk with her clients to reassure them if the response was a little less rapid.

When it came to the problem of feeling abandoned, that was more of a psychological issue that had deeper roots. If I had been her therapist, we would have explored that deeper psychological issue. As her coach I focused on helping her to have more of a social life on the weekend so that she too could enjoy a life outside of work and feel less jealous of her associates.

To her credit, this partner was willing to share some of her deeper feelings with me and was able to be open to suggestions in the interest of developing a more supportive team at work, which she was able to do.

Often the people at work who are upset and difficult to work with have deeper personal issues that are not known to others in the workplace.  Even if you do not know why someone is hard to work with, it can help to know that that person’s inner demons make their own lives harder, not just yours.