5 Job Search Tips for 2021

Here are 5 tips for landing your dream job:

1. Update your resume. Recent accomplishments, newly acquired skills, and current position title are a few updates that should be made to your resume at least once a year.

2. Apply to five jobs a week. Use job search filters to find new positions each week to apply to. Create a job alert and have newly posted jobs directly in your inbox.

3. Setup a mock interview. Whether it’s with the mirror, a housemate, or a professional job coach, take time to practice answering the most commonly asked interview questions.

4. Increase your online presence. If you are looking for content to share on your professional channels, consider sharing topical articles and jobs you aren’t applying for, to keep yourself top of mind with your professional colleagues.

5. Make five new professional connections. Ask these individuals about their jobs and the company they work for to develop a relationship. Leverage these contacts as references or referrals when the time is right.

Top 5 Careers Worth Chasing

1. Find your calling

“Some people are very money-motivated, but most are looking for career fulfillment, not just a big paycheck,” says Molisani. That’s especially true of the millennials: 65% of them said they took their first job because they saw an opportunity for personal development, a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey found. (Only 21% based their decision on salary.)

During the early stages of your career, one of your main professional goals should be finding what industry best suits your ambitions. “Now is the time to explore different career paths,” says Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers, a New York-based job-search consulting firm. “It’s more difficult to change industries later on in your career when you have a family to support and need a steady paycheck.”

2. Develop a broad skill set

Today, you’re hard-pressed to find a job that requires one skill and one skill only. “Employers want to hire people with a spectrum of talents,” says Molisani. Hence, instead of concentrating on what you want your job title to be in five years, focus on developing skills that will make you more marketable to future employers.

Start by honing your communication skills. Molisani recommends joining Toastmasters, an organization that helps people sharpen their public speaking. You may also want to take a writing class since nearly every industry will require you to write something, be it an email or an annual report.

3. Set a timeline for education

Depending on your chosen field, you may have to complete certain training, certification programs, or education to excel in your career. To avoid getting sidetracked, set a goal to acquire the skill or degree within a specific time period (e.g., “I will go to law school in two years”).

However, before enrolling—and potentially taking on student loan debt—think about why you want the degree and if it’s really going to make a difference in your future. “A lot of people go back to school for the wrong reasons,” says Safani, “and then they get frustrated because their education doesn’t lead to better career opportunities.”

If getting an MBA will increase your earning potential, it’s probably worth the investment; but if the degree isn’t relevant to your work, you might be better off going without.

4. Distinguish yourself in the field

To become a leader, you’ll need to raise your visibility at your current company and in your field. Show the boss you’ve got management potential by spearheading an initiative. Working on a group project? Be the one who presents the report to your manager. Join an industry group or association and regularly attend networking events.

“In-person networking is irreplaceable,” says Marcelle Yeager, president of Career Valet, a professional coaching firm based in Washington, D.C. Read: you’re more memorable when you meet someone face to face. You may even want to take on a leadership role (e.g., secretary) to further boost your public profile.

Also, develop a strong online presence that will help you demonstrate your expertise. That entails being active on social media—meaning you need to tweet on a regular basis, not simply have a Twitter account.  

5. Align your life goals with your career goals

Think about where you want to be in five years in terms of your personal life, advises Molisani. Looking to start a family in your hometown? Build your career there. Want to buy a house or pay off your student loan debt?

Check Monster’s salary guide to see what the average salary is for someone in your industry with five years’ experience, and determine whether you need to make adjustments in order to stay on course.

Develop new goals

No matter how much preparation you do to work toward achieving your goals, know that nothing is set in stone—and that’s OK. Your goals may change with time, and it’s important to be flexible. If you notice your career path is moving in a new and unexpected direction, allow yourself to explore it rather than resist it. The workplace changes, industries change, and you yourself will change too.

Source: Monster.com

Why You Should Consider an Apprenticeship

What is an apprenticeship?

The federal government defines an apprenticeship as “an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway where employers can develop and prepare their future workforce, and individuals can obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, mentorship, and a portable, nationally-recognized credential.”

Or put another way, an apprenticeship is an alternative path to beginning a career in a profession, says Aaron Olson, Chief Operating Officer of AON, which created an apprenticeship program in the Chicago area.

“In our case, this alternative is important. As a professional services firm with white collar professions, we would traditionally hire from four-year degree programs. An apprenticeship is an alternative to that,” he says. AON’s apprenticeship allows people to go to work while they complete an education program at a partner community college. “When they’ve completed the apprenticeship, they’ve done the equivalent of a four-year degree,” Olson says.

If it sounds too good to be true, it’s because not every company and industry is on board just yet, so you may have to do some digging to find an apprentice program that fits your interest. Monster currently has thousands of listings for an apprentice. Read on to find out some other reasons why you should consider an apprenticeship.

1. It’s an alternative foot in the door without four-year degree debt

Apprenticeship programs are not only free, but you actually also get paid while you’re working through them. Certain programs also fund some schooling or provide credit that you can put toward a degree should you decide to go back to school to finish a degree at some point.

Compare that to attending college and having to borrow money to do so while also not earning any income. The average student loan debt per borrower was $35,359 as of 2019, and the scarier part is that there’s no job guarantee upon graduation.

With an apprenticeship, a person does not have to take on debt, and they can try out an industry while getting a paycheck.

2. You get paid a real salary

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, workers who undergo apprenticeships have an average starting salary of more than $50,000, and earn $300,000 more, on average, than non-apprentices over the course of their careers.

At AON, apprentices are paid as full-time employees with full benefits, and at the completion of the two-year program, they’ll come out with a two-year associate degree. While they are an apprentice, they are paid less since the company is also subsidizing their schooling. 

3. It’s a legit career path

“Being able to start in a career that would otherwise have required a bachelor’s degree is a real benefit,” says Olson.

AON believes so strongly in apprenticeships that it started a network with 26 other companies called the Chicago Apprenticeship Network, and have collectively hired more than 540 apprentices. “That validates that across multiple companies that we understand and believe in these programs,” says Olson. “We’ve legitimized this as a career path.”

There’s also a big push at the federal level with more than 1,000 occupations registering apprenticeships with the Department of Labor. And, it’s not only in fields that people typically think of as a traditional apprenticeship, like becoming an electrician or painter. You could train in health care, cybersecurity, information technology, and energy, for example. 

Furthermore, apprenticeships aren’t only for recent high school graduates. “When we started in the first year, we expected people right out of high school, but we did find folks further along in their careers who wanted to switch careers,” says Olson. “They have been really great for us.” 

4. It’s good for the economy, too

Apprenticeships could have a positive impact in filling in some of those skills gaps and helping organizations find qualified job candidates.

That’s probably part of the reason why the government is investing heavily in apprenticeships, with a $150 million in grants to support sector-based approaches to expand apprenticeships on a national scale in key industry sectors.

At the company level, it’s a good investment as well. Even though AON doesn’t require that apprentices stay on beyond the two-year period (some apprenticeship programs might), they’ve found that there’s a high retention rate among apprentices, and they stay with the company longer than more traditional hires.

Find your path

Whether you don’t think college is the right choice for you, you don’t want to take on student loan debt, or you simply want to fast track your start into a new career, researching apprenticeships could prove to be a good move. Could you use some help getting started? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of apprenticeship programs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can get apprenticeship alerts sent directly to your inbox to cut down on time spent looking through ads. 

Source: Monster.com

10 Skills Employers Look for from New Graduates

Below you’ll find the top 10 most sought-after attributes that hiring managers want from the class of 2020. So if you’re on the hunt for an entry-level job.

1. Problem-solving skills

Nine in 10 employers (91.2%) want to see new college graduates tout excellent problem-solving skills. Many hiring managers use behavioral interview questions—phrases such as “tell me about a time when” or “give me an example of”—to assess a job candidate’s problem-solving ability. Thus, you’ll want to prepare anecdotes that paint you as a solution finder.

You don’t need job experience to provide proof that you’re a problem solver, says Los Angeles-based career coach Nancy Karas. “Think about times where you were proactive, innovative, or highly responsive to a challenge,” like that time you helped solve a customer complaint while working at the campus coffee shop, Karas says. Even better: Show that you took the initiative to identify a problem and then solved it.

2. Ability to work in a team

It goes without saying that nobody likes the employee who wants to hog the spotlight. But unlike your career as a student, where you’re really the only one who can make or break your success, the workplace depends on teams of people to get the job done. No surprise, then, that 86.3% of hiring managers want to know you can collaborate well with lots of different personalities.

You’ll need to learn how to delegate, take direction, value differences of opinion, and play to your and your co-workers’ strengths and weaknesses. “Being a team player is all about being reliable and trustworthy,” says career coach Denise Dudley, author of Work it! Get in, Get Noticed, Get Promoted.

3. Strong work ethic

You need to be committed to your job responsibilities and understand that performing your role is more than just means to a paycheck—after all, a company stands for something beyond business and so should you. That’s why 80.4% of hiring managers want to see new hires demonstrate a strong work ethic. Show up on time, be engaged in your work, and act with integrity.

4. Analytical skills

One in eight hiring managers (79.4%) want to hire entry-level workers who possess analytical skills, meaning they’re searching for critical thinkers—people who know how to gather and evaluate information and then make good decisions based on that intel.

5. Written communication skills

Good communication is always going to be among the top skills employers look for. The survey found that 77.5% of managers feel writing proficiency is the most desirable hard skill among recent college graduates. Therefore, submitting a well-crafted cover letter is crucial.

You’ll want to highlight experiences on your resume that demonstrate your writing skills. If you volunteered to be the scribe for a group project in college, for example, include that on your resume, advises Dawn Bugni, a professional resume writer in Atkinson, North Carolina. And depending on the nature of the industry—marketing, communications, or journalism to name a few—you might also submit writing samples with your application. “A writing portfolio speaks for itself,” Bugni says.

6. Leadership skills

It’s a tall order: 72.5% of hiring managers want potential hires with great leadership skills. Believe it or not, there are ways you can show possible employers that you have leadership potential before you even enter the workforce.

If you held a leadership role in college (e.g., president of the French club), highlight it on your resume. If you emerged as the informal leader on a group project, talk about the experience during the job interview.

Also, get letters of recommendation from former internship managers that speak to your leadership skills. “Glowing references can solidify a job offer,” says Stefanie Wichansky, CEO at Randolph, New Jersey, management consulting and staffing firm Professional Resource Partners.

7. Verbal communication skills

Seven in 10 hiring managers (69.6%) surveyed said good verbal communication skills are a must-have for new grads. Communication skills set the tone for how people perceive you and help you build relationships with co-workers.

Verbal communication prowess is best demonstrated during job interviews. Presenting answers to interview questions clearly goes a long way. You should also ask job interviewers open-ended questions to show that you’re engaged.

8. Initiative

Tied with verbal communication skills, 69.6% of hiring managers reported they want newly minted college graduates who know how to take initiative. This is where the maxim “Show them, don’t just tell them” applies. In the experience section of your resume, cite an example of a time when you deal with a difficult situation in a direct way or a time when being proactive enabled you to head off a problem.

9. Detail-oriented

According to the survey, 67.6% of managers are looking for new grads that have meticulous attention to detail. As a result, make sure your resume is impeccable, free of typos and grammatical errors, and organized with the use of clear, concise, and effective language. As Monster’s resume expert Kim Isaacs puts it: “You want your resume to be as perfect as humanly possible.”

10. Technical skills

Many industries, not just jobs in the technology sector, call for professionals with technical abilities. Case in point: 65.7% of hiring managers said new grads should possess technical skills. Describe how you’re applied your technical skills in the past. For instance, if your resume lists that you have Java experience, it should also describe how utilized the program on a particular project in college.

Source: Monster.com

10 Ways to Improve Your Career in 10 Minutes or Less During the Quarantine

It can feel like life is on pause as we wait for states and shuttered storefronts to reopen. Still, there are things that you can do to proactively move your career forward whether you are at a job you enjoy or you are job searching. There are likely to be some days that you are feeling productive, motivated, and determined…and some days that you just want to binge-watch Netflix. Use pockets of productivity to focus on career advancement ⁠— these activities will take 10 minutes or less. That’s less time than it takes to make another loaf of bread or find something new to binge-watch on Netflix.

Plan your day

If you’re currently at home due to a shelter in place ordinance or because your employer has temporarily implemented work from home policies, you still need to have a structure to your day just like you did when you were going to work each day. When you’re working remotely, it’s important to overcommunicate—you could send an email to your manager each day or each week with updates on what you’re working on, your status on projects, and your accomplishments. Don’t just rely on email though, have a 10-minute phone call or video meeting to discuss your goals, make sure you’re are aligned on what success looks like for your role, and to ask for feedback. It is a good idea to set these meetings at least once a quarter so you can stay on track and improve year-round instead of waiting until your annual review. Many employers are being flexible about work from home policies during the pandemic and yours may be open to working with you on developing a clear schedule that you both can stick to.

In the current situation, you may not be commuting and gained some time in the morning and evening. You should take advantage of that by doing something you may have struggled to fit into your normal work day—a yoga class, catching up on social media or the news, reading a book. Fitting more personal time into your day will help create a stronger work/life balance and prevent burnout. When your workload seems overwhelming or if you’re faced with a block, don’t try to power through. Take a minute (or 10) to relax. “If you are getting frustrated, stopping for even a moment can help put the situation in perspective,” says Lori Scherwin founder of the New York-based career coaching company Strategize That. “You’ll feel better directed and will work more effectively as a result thereafter.” 

Set goals and key performance indicators

Have a check-in meeting once a month to come up with your goals for the month, success metrics, and ways you can exceed expectations and take on new responsibilities. Turn your goals into SMART goals to make them more concrete and measurable. Write down a few bullet points for steps you’ll take to achieve each goal. Break bigger goals into smaller, more manageable steps so you stay on track and have something to celebrate along the way.

Read industry news

“Too often, professionals do their jobs in a vacuum and fail to regularly see how they fit into the big picture,” says Scherwin.

“You’ll be better informed and geared up if you have an understanding of the factors driving your industry or what challenges may be on your bosses’ (or their bosses’) minds,” she says.

She recommends reading trade publications, industry-specific articles, and articles relevant to your role. To make it super-easy, set Google alerts for the ones you think are most useful, or create a Twitter list so you can quickly scan the most relevant headlines in a flash.

Email someone in your network

If you only reach out to people when you need something from them, the relationship could start to feel transactional and forced. Try to build better professional relationships by staying in regular contact with those contacts so you’re not just reaching out when you need a favor.

“It takes less than five minutes to send an email saying hello and ask how they are doing,” says Scherwin. “This way, you’ll be more connected and more comfortable reaching out again in the future if you do need something—it’ll feel more natural,” she says.

Share your accomplishments

Keep track of your wins by creating a brag sheet—and updating it often. The purpose of this is so you don’t forget all the good you’re doing at work, and can easily mention it to higher-ups. And don’t wait until your annual review to share your wins.

“It is very likely that your boss has little more than a vague idea as to how busy you really are and what you are either working on or have accomplished,” says Roy Cohen, a New York-based career coach.

“If you wait till your annual performance review, he or she may have already formed an impression that is reflected in both your salary increase and bonus. And the numbers may not match what you believe you deserve.”

Create your elevator pitch

“Your elevator pitch is what you will say to describe yourself and your background to networking contacts and employers,” says Cheryl Palmer, founder of the D.C.-based career-coaching firm Call to Career.

Your elevator pitch should be concise, persuasive and something that you can repeat with ease.

Once you’ve honed it, Palmer recommends recording yourself so you can hear how you come across, and make changes so you sound genuine and conversational instead of rehearsed and robotic.

Connect with a mentor

 “Speaking with a mentor can help you identify your blind spots, get candid feedback on how you can accelerate your career progress, and give you an opportunity to get a fresh point of view on your career trajectory,” says Joseph Liu, a London-based career and personal-branding consultant.

And just like you want to keep this career-boosting task to 10 minutes or less, your mentor will appreciate you being as brief as possible too. Come prepared with detailed questions so you use the time as efficiently as possible.

Learn new skills

Look for ways to learn skills that are relevant to your industry. Listen to podcasts, read business books, watch YouTube tutorials, sign up for online classes — there are plenty of ways you can learn and improve your skills without leaving your couch.

Another way to learn new skills is to start something of your own like a blog, newsletter, or writing a business plan for a company. Think of ways you can get the skills you want on your own. A passion project can make you stand out during your job search and it could even become your full-time job.

Brainstorm your dream job

Whether you’re just starting out or you’re in a career slump, “What do you want to do with your life?” is a question that’s often asked and hard to answer.

If you’re looking for a job, you need to be looking at job ads, but even if you’re not in active job-search mode, job descriptions can serve as useful intel about the requirements and qualifications you’ll need to advance your career or change industries.

Check job posting boards for examples of jobs you envision for yourself and the key qualifications and experience you need. The information you gather will serve as a baseline for what companies are looking for and where you currently stand.

Brenda Hoehn, a Missouri-based life coach, recommends a 10-minute exercise for discovering your dream job: Write down the qualities of your ideal job, such as company culture, compensation, work-life balance and stress level. Don’t limit yourself to a particular title or company—think about what would make you happy. If it’s working with people, put that down. If it’s flexible hours, write that. Then, do some online searching for jobs that fit those descriptions.

“A position that you may not have originally thought was something that you wanted may appear and have everything that you would have ever asked for and more! Be open to possibilities,” says Hoehn.

Get feedback on your resume

Your resume is your first point of contact with a company. You want it to make a great first impression to help you land a job interview. Easier said than done. Could you use some help? Get a free resume evaluation today from the experts at Monster’s Resume Writing Service. You’ll get detailed feedback in two business days, including a review of your resume’s appearance and content, and a prediction of a recruiter’s first impression.

“It’s very difficult to be objective about yourself and your experience,” says Palmer. “You may not be presenting yourself in the best possible light on paper, but it’s hard to know that without objective feedback,” says Palmer. Take 10 (or fewer) minutes to send out your resume to Monster for a professional assessment.

Source: Monster.com