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Resource: Featured Articles
Act Like An Executive Even If You Aren't One
Thursday, December 29, 2011

With the new year just around the corner, you should also be thinking about new approaches for landing a job. You can find advice anywhere on how to approach typical advertised positions and as a result compete with people who may have similar skills sets and strategies.

Surveys of executive recruiters done by ExecuNet repeatedly showed increases in hiring at senior management level, and search firms are starting out the new year with a positive outlook on the job market maintaining its improvement.

At the same time, these high-level positions are not usually advertised. Only about a fraction of $200,000 positions are publicly posted so most executives usually dedicated much of their time online searching through job boards or sending out resumes like the average job seeker.

These surveyed recruiters have indicated that about a quarter of U.S. companies expect to hire new leaders in the next six months. This leaves us to wonder how these executive candidates will be able to find such sub-radar job prospects?

The job-searching savvy execs take on this task just like any other project that comes their way. They apply the same skill sets used to get them to the top in their next pursuit. According to the search firm recruiters surveyed  about what they looked for in executive candidates they named these skills as: leadership; strategy and execution; ability to build relationships; communication; problem-solving; and a wide professional network.

By taking a few pointers from today's C-level executives on their methods into a job search plan, you can hone your own skills and use the same tactics as them to avoid spending time and effort competiting with resume clones.

Play the game with a well thought out strategy. Know what it is you're trying to achieve and what you'll need to do it. The best way to do this is to sit down and clearly brainstorm your strengths, things you enjoy doing, and where these two things can best be promoted. All too often, job seekers let external influences mold their drive instead of the other way around. You need to assess your qualifications and interests adequately in order to be the best possible candidate for a potential employer.

Flock to birds of a common feather. Executives tend to look for target companies and connections where they stand the best chances of reaching maximum success. It always helps to have people backing you up even if there aren't available positions at that point in time. The goal is to reach out and make connections so get a broad network of colleagues. You are your own spokesperson so you want to get the word out as widespread as possible.

You shouldn't rule out job boards, but don't heavily rely on them as your only job search resource.

They are also good resources for:
  • Identifying hiring and market trends
  • Researching industries and companies
  • Learning about keywords, job titles and associated skill sets
  • Getting familiar with industry lingo
  • Strengthening resumes and cover letters
  • Last but not least, be a leader. In the job market, competence and perseverance go a long way. Staying motivated and knowing when to re-
  • group keeps you focused on the ultimate goal.

Last but not least, be a leader. In the job market, competence and perseverance go a long way. Staying motivated and knowing when to re-group keeps you focused on the ultimate goal.

Ways to Revive a Dormant Career
Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Getting a career back on its feet after a long stretch of downtime can be difficult, but far from impossible. With just a few pointers, you'll find that getting back in the workforce is not as tough as it may seem.

--Be upfront and open about the time gaps in your resume. Chances are a prospective employer is going to ask, so you need to be ready to account for it. Have an idea of your explanation be it a voluntary break or not. You should just give the prospective employer a reason, not an exuse or apology, for why you weren't working.

It's perfectly fine and in most cases isn't a big deal unless made to be one. Get it over with, move on and stay positive. Talk about what you did do during your time off and how it helped you grow as person and how those insights may make you a more valuable employee.

Naturally, the prospective employer will be curious as to why you want to get back in the workforce. Try to steer your answer clear of money as you want to avoid seeming desperate. Think about what you liked while being in workforce before and talk about what else you'd want to get out of it this time around.

--Keep your ties intact. Just because you've taken time out of working doesn't mean you have to leave every trace of it behind. You never know when stayin in touch will help you later on. Don't distance yourself too far from your network or colleagues as they are as beneficial to your career as anything else.

Try to stay active in the industry as well by doing freelance work or volunteering--something to keep you relevant. If you've been out of the loop for a while, it's never too late to get back in and it's easier now than ever with the advances in social media. Take advantage of all the opportunities modern technology has to offer.

--Make yourself a versatile player. To get your foot back through the door you'll need to be a little more flexible. Don't put limits on your job prospects with a narrow search. Be willing to apply to other positions even if they're a stretch from the ones you've held in the past or prefer now.

Assess your skills and think about how they can be applied to other areas of the industry and what positions you're best suited for. When looking for a job, put more attention toward the required skills rather than simply the job title.

Give yourself every possible opportunity by being open to options. While your goal may be to land a full-time position, you can still get there even if you're only offered a part-time one. Every experience lets you to update your resume, build on your previous experiences and meet new people.

Optimism Up, Unemployment Down
Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's no secret that it's been a rough few years for many Americans. With national unemployments rates reaching 10 percent, many people have been left with little to no job options. That story, however, has taken a turn.

In November, the Labor Department reported that employment was at its lowest in three years since the recession at 8.6 percent dropping down from 9 percent the previous month.

This decline in unemployment came at a surprise to many economists. The reasons, they say, are based on more jobs coupled with less searchers.

Chief economist for Nationwide, Paul Ballew, said that it may be too soon to celebrate adding that the unemployment rate has a tendency to bounce around depending on who is actively looking for jobs.

The key word in all this is the "who." Most of the positions being filled were by men which was reflected in the drop in the unemployed for those over the age of 20 from 8.8 percent in October to 8.3 percent. For women, the dip was smaller mostly due to more women having left the labor force.

Another survey done by businesses showed that employers had added 120,000 jobs in last month which led to the hiring pick up from October, a little better than economists' expectations of 110,000. More people are also saying that they're going back to work despite the slow and steady progress in hiring levels.

And the news only gets better. Job growth for the prior two months also had a stronger outcome reporting an additional 72,000 jobs added in September and October combined. The retail sector alone added about 50,000 jobs, over half at clothing and accessory stores, while the hospitality industry added 22,00 jobs primarily in restaurants.

The Labor Department adjusts its numbers to account for seasonal trends so these job growths aren't necessarily due only to holiday hiring alone. Overall, the labor market still has quite a way to go in its road to its recession recovery.

There are still 13.3 million people left looking for jobs and 43 percent of those have been on the hunt for close to a year. At this point, the issue of jobs has upgraded its status from being bad to hopeful and only time will tell when things will finally become good.

Tips to Help the Executive Job Hunt
Tuesday, December 13, 2011

In the beginning of December, the unemployment rate dropped down to 8.6 percent, the lowest it's been in nearly three years. However, that also means that 8.6 percent of the country is still unemployed.

Many of those unemployed came from jobs where general career tips and interview advice could be applied.

But depending on the level of position those higher up, like executives, are able to better benefit from a different kind of counseling--guidance more directed toward their specific employment-seeking strategies.

Executives actually have different types of recruiters therefore need to have a different approach. While some may find it hard to believe that executives are also at risk of losing their jobs, there are few positions that can technically be deemed recession-proof.

The following tips will help job-hunting executives in their climb to back to the top:

Create a personal brand online using social media. Websites like LinkedIn have made it easier for people of any occupational standing to connect with colleagues and recruiters. It's important to have a brand for yourself for recruiters to be able to pick you out of the pack. A majority of employers use online social media to find candidates so creating your own identity attracts the spotlight toward you.

Use specifics to illustrate your skills as it is solely your responsibility to show them what your best aptitudes are. Employers expect candidates to show off their impressive traits, especially experienced professionals. A cover letter should not be used as a second resume. Put key information and notable achievements in your resume to give employers a clear picture of your strengths and abilities.

Be proactive and avoid bothering with external executive recruiters. Put yourself in front of the internal corporate recruiters searching online. It's helpful when you research companies and find where the job prospects are yourself. It says a lot when you can do this and introduce yourself to potential employers.

Keep in mind that it's all about the recruiter. Set aside your ego and emphasize how you will be an asset to their company. Assert your strengths and highlight distinct areas where you can provide solutions for their business problems. You are selling yourself and in order to get someone to invest in you, you need to prove that you are well worth the price.

RESTORE Act May Provide Gulf Coast Jobs
Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The Gulf Coast continues to suffer from the repercussions of the BP oil spill that occurred last year, and the penalties put into effect on BP by the Clean Water Act could be the catalyst for launching long-term investments in ecosystem restoration and creating jobs.

A recent Duke University report shows that this job creation would benefit at least 140 businesses with nearly 400 employee locations in 37 states, including more than 260 in the Gulf Cost and nearly 60 in Florida.

The report--"RESTORING THE GULF COAST: New Markets for Established Firms"-- is based on a sample of 140 firms linked to coastal restoration projects already underway or completed and is supported by funds from the Walton Family Foundation to Environmental Defense Fund.

According to the director of sustainable technologies for EDF, Jackie Prince Roberts, this long-term restoration would be a huge benefit to both the ecosystem and the economy as it would protect current jobs and major industries in Florida like fishing, tourism, and shipping.

Another study of Everglades restoration done by Mather Economics, using data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, estimates that every $1 million of public investment in the restoration would create 20 jobs.

The studies are meant to give insight to Floridians as to where those jobs can be created and the potential the state has to being a leader in this new industry sector which provides ecosystem restoration services to the Gulf and meets rising global demand.
Restoration projects activate a linked force of material providers, equipment manufacturers, shipbuilders, machinery repair firms, engineering and construction contractors, and environmental resource firms, states the report.

Biohabitats Inc. is a conservation planning, ecological restoration and regenerative design firm that does restoration along the Gulf Coast and has offices across the country. Its president, Keith Bowers, said that, "Coastal habitat restoration typically creates at least 3-4 times as many jobs as road infrastructure or oil and gas projects for every $1 million invested."

The Gulf region plays a vital economic role that depends on the delta ecosystem. Take a look at these numbers:
These figures illustrate the flourishing coastal restoration sector but have been stalled many due to the recent budget cuts.

The report emphasizes that the restoration is much needed in the Great Lakes and throughout the country's coastal area in particular those of Florida, California, and the Pacific Northwest.
The RESTORE act would allow these budding new sectors to continue building and developing.


For more on this story click here.

Deadline for Payroll Tax Cut Approaching, Congress Deadlocked
Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Continual talks about improving the economy, but Americans are still waiting for Congress to put action to words.

With the expiration date coming up on December 31 for extending and expanding the payroll tax cut, Congress and the White House are scrambling to come to a resolution.

It's a scary reminder that by the beginning of next year taxes will jump for an estimated 160 million Americans if Congress doesn't act--and fast.

President Obama is proposing to extend the tax cut another year while expanding the tax holiday currently in place on the employee share of the payroll tax which would cut it to 3.1 percent from this years 4.2 percent.

In addition, he wants to cut the employer share from 6.2 percent on the first $5 million of payroll next year. This would lead to a complete employer payroll tax holiday for comanies that grow their payrolls up to $50 million a year by hiring new workers or raising the salaries of existing ones.

Senate Republicans have come up with their own proposal of reducing federal employee's jobs and wages to finance the job creation measure. With that, federal agencies would be limited to hiring just one replacement employee for ever three full-time ones leaving.

This cycle will continue until employment drops down by 10 percent. Altogether, an estimated 280,000 jobs would be forfeited, a seemingly contradicting number considering the initial purpose of the payroll tax cut.

This proposal would also freeze federal employees' pay until 2015 extending a two-year freeze by an additional three years. Based on the Congressional Budget Office's economic projections, 8.3 percent of real wages would be cut for all federal employees over five years.
Senate Democrats, on the other hand, have another thing in mind. Their proposal aims at taxing the 1-in-500 less struggling households that are earning over $1 million to help balance out the bill.

It would actually raise $265 billion for an expanded payroll tax cut which would lead the GDP to an accelerated growth going into 2012. Businesses would see reduced payroll tax rates for the first $5 million in payroll and employees' payroll tax rates would fall from 4.2 percent from this year to 3.1 going into the next.

While the tax cut provides an immediate solution it also, however, affects another issue of Social Security benefits in the long run.

The line on your pay stub labed FICA stands for the Federal Insurance Contributions Act. Even thought it's legally a tax, those who created Social Security had the intention of having it as a premium payment for workers to contribut to their retirement.

One of Franklin D. Roosevelt's aides had famoulsy quoted him saying the dedicated FICA revenue source was critical, because it meant, "no damn politician can ever scrap my social security program."

So far, the FICA holiday has done little harm to Social Security as the losses have been made up from general federal revenue. Extending the cuts futher, though, could cause challenges for Social Security's self-funding feature.

Leaving out the issue of Social Security funding, President Obama along with other Democrats want to tax millionaires while Republicans want to make spending cuts. At this point, shifting general revenue puts the handling of Social Security up in the air like any other federal program.

In general, most mainstream economists are in consensus that that payroll tax cuts serve as a beneficial stimulus. But when it comes down to it, the payroll tax cut is neither the worst nor best policy. Still, the alternative-- a major tax hike on the middle class at a time when the economy seems to be picking up-- doesn't look any better.

What needs to happen now is if Congress can't seem to decide on a solution soon, lawmakers will just have to play "Follow the Leader" and approve the President's plan.