Announcing 4th of July Career Counseling Special – Only $150!

Until midnight (ET) July 4, 2017, I am pleased to offer 50% off my full-service unlimited Job Search Planning Career Counseling Package.   The service includes:

  • A 2-hour Skype consultation to create a job search plan, which includes:
    • a discussion on building your own brand
    • a review of your needs/wants
    • researching tips
    • networking (including real world and LinkedIn
    • a critique and editing of your cover letter and resume
    • and interviewing
  • Mock interviews prior to actual interviews
  • Unlimited phone and e-mail follow-up until you get your next job!

This offer ends midnight July 4, 2017, at midnight (ET) and is limited to 10 job seekers.

After you have paid, please email your resume and, if you have one, a sample cover letter, to Bruce Hurwitz at bh@hsstaffing.com. I will call you within 24 hours to setup your Skype interview.

To pay visit:  http://www.hsstaffing.com/4th-special.html

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Dealing with Health Issues in a Job Interview and the Power of Networking

A few years ago I was invited to participate in a panel discussion on interviewing which was focused on veterans and the disabled. (And, no, I was not crazy about the juxtaposition but I understood the intent of the organizers and let it go.) One of the attendees, I believe he was a veteran, asked the question, When should I tell an employer about my disability?

The panel moderator asked one of the other panelists to respond. She said, “As long as it has nothing to do with your ability to do the job, say nothing.”

This is not an uncommon response. A few months ago I spoke to a group of students. One asked the same question. Before I had a chance to respond, their teacher said, “After they offer you the job.”

Terrible advice! Almost as bad as the response of my former fellow panelist.

What’s the problem?

You have a disability. It has nothing to do with your ability to do the job, so you don’t tell the employer. That may be fine. But what if the employer looks at it differently? What if the employer is thinking safety? They are located on the 20th floor of a 30-story building. What if there is a fire? You’ll still get the job only now the employer will know to report the issue to the building’s Safety/Security Director before there is a crisis. But there is now the little matter of the boss now thinking to herself, What else didn’t he tell me?

You have a disability and it is related to the job. You follow the teacher’s instructions and after you are offered the job you say, “Oh, by the way. I have this disability which means I will need this ‘reasonable accommodation’.” Well, the employer doesn’t agree with your definition of “reasonable” and, moreover, she does not like the fact that you waited until the last minute to tell her. (In fact, you literally wait until the first minute to tell her!) It looks like you are preparing for a lawsuit, not a new job! So she rescinds the offer because of the “accommodation” issue but, more importantly, because she does not trust you. What else are you hiding? Employers do not like to be surprised.

So my advice was always to do the following. We’ll use a veteran as an example.

The veteran is ushered into a conference room for the initial interview. After the pleasantries are over he says,

“Before we get started let’s address the 800-pound gorilla in the room. I know you can’t ask, but we all know you are thinking about it. So let me tell you upfront, I have no disability.”

The unspoken issue is no longer an issue and the employer likes the candidate because he was honest and showed that he understood her concerns.

Second scenario:

“Before we get started let’s address the 800-pound gorilla in the room. I know you can’t ask, but we all know you are thinking about it. So let me tell you upfront that I have X. That means Y. From the perspective of the job, it should have no impact but I will need the following ‘reasonable accommodation’.”

The employer is now happy. She has a candidate who understands her concerns and took the initiative to raise a delicate issue. And he is honest and forthright. He explained it. She understands it. It is not a last-minute surprise. She agrees with his definition of “reasonable.” The issue is no longer an issue. Now let’s start the interview!

How do I know that I am right and you deal with health issues up front?

Simple: It has worked for me!

I had a health issue at the end of May. I spent two days in the hospital and five in a dump of a nursing home (out of which I checked myself). One of the first letters that I opened when I got home informed me that my doctor had closed his practice and had transferred it to a new group of physicians. So in addition to having to deal with Social Services, I needed to find a new primary care physician, who referred me to two specialists and then I had to deal with tests, etc., all while trying to complete the paperwork for Social Services, a document which is a foot in height!

And, while doing all of this, I had to cope with the stress of an unknown health issue and financial worries. Meaning very little sleep and very little appetite. (If you want to know how to lose 25 pounds in a month, give me a call. On second thought, don’t!)

It took me a couple of weeks to get over what I had gone through and get control of what I was going through. My concentration was shot. I could not read and I could not write. I was obsessing over my situation. Never a good thing.

So how did I turn things around? I took my own advice!

First, networking. I reached out to everyone for whom I had an email address and with whom I had worked, primarily those individuals who knew me from my days with the local Chamber of Commerce. There were a lot of people I had helped with free advice or introductions. I had the network and I was going to use it.

So I wrote to everyone. Basically, they all got the same email. It began by my briefly explaining what had happened and that I was now medically fine and could return to work. I also told them that because of the bills that were pouring in (don’t ask!) I could no longer afford to work on a commission basis and would even consider a “job job.” I highlighted for them my skill set, attached a copy of my resume and told them that they could share it, and the email, at their discretion.

The following day Outlook started to hum and the phone started to ring. While a good percentage never responded, those that did first were concerned about my health and then they had specific employment-related questions. The end result:

One paid me a retainer, and has yet to give me the search! Another introduced me to his HR director who offered me a consulting gig to help her screen candidates. Others introduced me to their friends via email. I have had half a dozen phone interviews with friends of friends. In each case, I begin by reassuring them that I am fit to work. No restrictions. No “accommodations” of any type required. And in each case, without exception, they have all thanked me for being honest and upfront with them and broaching the subject myself.

Bottom line, by being honest and upfront, I have uncovered jobs that are not being advertised and have had one job created just for me. I turned being sick from a negative into a positive. If I can do it, why can’t you?

(Another advantage is that I now have a new appreciation for what some of my long-term unemployed career counseling clients were going through!)

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Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor. (Don’t miss out on his discounted Summer Career Counseling Special!) He has helped scores (thousands if you include attendees at his presentations) of people, including veterans, not only change jobs but, on occasion, change careers. Having successfully transitioned from academia to non-profits to the recruiting industry, he has been there and done that!

Bruce is a recognized authority on job search and career issues, having been quoted in over 700 articles, appearing in some 500 publications, across the United States, and in more than 30 foreign countries. His posts on LinkedIn have been read over 350,000 times and have garnered national and international media attention, including television appearances on Fox Business Network and Headline News (CNN).

An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website, www.hsstaffing.com, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies and to learn about his upcoming speaking engagements. Follow him on Twitter at @HurwitzStaffing.

Lastly, he can help you make the most out of LinkedIn by doing the mundane tasks so that you are free to do what only you can, grow a real-world network of potential employers, clients or customers, as the case may be, thus allowing you to achieve whatever it was that brought you to LinkedIn in the first place.

If you do this on your LinkedIn profile your boss may know you are unhappy

As long as you are either unemployed or do not care if your boss knows that you are looking for a new job, I always recommend to career counseling clients to include “Open to New Opportunities” in the “Headline” that appears after their name on their LinkedIn profiles. It’s a good way to advertise. Granted, you will be inundated with pitches from resume writers, career counselors and recruiters, but that’s the price you have to pay.

This article is not about “Open to New Opportunities.” That’s a conscious decision on the individual’s part to advertise the fact, if they are employed, that they want out. What this article is about is the unconscious decision people make when writing their profiles which lets their boss and the world know that they may not be happy with their job or career.

While working on a project for a LinkedIn marketing client, I began to notice an interesting trend. People list their job as one thing and their “Industry” as something totally different.

With the new user interface on LinkedIn, sadly, you can no longer see a person’s “Industry” when viewing their profile. “Industry” is now only a filter when doing a search.

There are people who get confused. For example, they may be an accountant at a marketing agency. They put “Marketing and Advertising” as their “Industry” because that is the industry of their employer. But a LinkedIn profile is personal. The question is not which “Industry” your employer is in, but rather which “Industry” you are in. So, in this hypothetical case, the individual should have listed their “Industry” as “Accounting.”

But I have found people who list their job as one thing and their “Industry” as something completely different – and unrelated to their employer’s industrial sector. For example, a fashion model listing her profession as “Law Practice.” Then there is the “Sales Associate,” working for a luxury retailer who lists his “Industry” as “Financial Services,” as do a “Skin Care Consultant” and a “Personal Chef.”

If you do not identify with your true “Industry,” that can be an indication that it might be time for a change. If your boss sees it, she will definitely know, or think she knows, that you will not be with her for long.

Bottom line, impression is reality. You do not want to give the impression that you are not happy with your job and wish you were in another line of work…unless, of course, you do!

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Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor. He has helped scores (thousands if you include attendees at his presentations) of people, including veterans, not only change jobs but, on occasion, change careers. Having successfully transitioned from academia to non-profits to the recruiting industry, he has been there and done that!

Bruce is a recognized authority on job search and career issues, having been quoted in over 700 articles, appearing in some 500 publications, across the United States and in more than 30 foreign countries. His posts on LinkedIn have been read over 350,000 times and have garnered national and international media attention, including television appearances on Fox Business Network and Headline News (CNN).

An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website, www.hsstaffing.com, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies and to learn about his upcoming speaking engagements.

The Job Seeker’s Plight: Hard Work and Nothing to Show for it!

December is always a bad month for recruiters. As bad as the first two weeks are, the last two are even worse. If the phone rings, it’s a holiday miracle! (The only thing comparable is Thanksgiving week.)

Four years ago things were worse than ever. I literally had nothing to do. Then I was staring at my file cabinets and realized that I had documents dating back 10 plus years, that I did not need. And those that I might have a need for, I could scan.

So I pulled out file folders, removed staples, and started shredding. And I continued to shred. And when the shredder overheated, I took a break. And then I resumed shredding. And at the end of the three-four days it took to complete the project, I had thrown out some 25 13-gallon garbage bags full of no longer needed documents.

Then I looked around the office and saw no change. I knew what I had done. I knew it was a smart thing to do. Every December, I still do the same thing: shred or scan and shred. But the result is always the same: I know what I have done but I can’t see any results. That is, unless I open the drawers, which are now nearly empty.

***

A new career counseling client came to me very frustrated. He had been looking for a job for close to a year. He showed me an Excel spreadsheet which confirmed he had sent out over a thousand applications. In a good month he had one interview. There were few good months. Bottom line, he had done a lot of work but had nothing to show for it! Or at least so he thought.

That got me thinking about my filing cabinets. The only way I knew I had done anything was to open the drawers. So, after I told him the story so he would understand what I was talking about, I said, “Let’s open your drawers.” Then, realizing what I had said, I blushed and when he stopped laughing, I said, “Let me rephrase that!”

Well, I didn’t have to.

The reason, no surprise, that he was not getting any interviews was that the only thing worse than his cover letter and resume were his networking skills. (He actually was not a bad interviewee except for the fact that he never sent thank-you emails…) But that did not mean he had not accomplished anything during his year of unemployment. The problem was, given that his only goal was to get a job, and he hadn’t, he could not see his actually accomplishments.

First, he had had a career that enabled him to maintain his standard of living for a year without any salary.

Second, during that year he had improved himself, keeping up to date with his profession and learning new skills. (Three cheers for the Internet!)

Third, he had helped a number of non-profits. (“But that’s just volunteer stuff, not work!”)

I won’t insult your intelligence by saying how I changed his resume and cover letter, or to tell you the results.

The moral of the story is this: Just because you can’t see your accomplishments doesn’t mean they are not there. All you have to do is look for them. And when you find them, you may also find your self-confidence which, in case you don’t know it, is a prerequisite for getting a job offer.

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Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor. He has helped scores (thousands if you include attendees at his presentations) of people, including veterans, not only change jobs but, on occasion, change careers. Having successfully transitioned from academia to non-profits to the recruiting industry, he has been there and done that!

Bruce is a recognized authority on job search and career issues, having been quoted in over 700 articles, appearing in some 500 publications, across the United States and in more than 30 foreign countries. His posts on LinkedIn have been read over 330,000 times and have garnered national and international media attention, including television appearances on Fox Business Network and Headline News (CNN).

In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, he co-chairs their Entrepreneurship Council, hosts their weekly podcast – The Voice of Manhattan Business – and serves as an Ambassador.

An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website, www.hsstaffing.com, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies and to learn about his upcoming speaking engagements.

The ONLY Job Search Software You Need, PERIOD!

There are plenty of job search sites that promise you quick results. And there are those that promise that they have found the algorithm that will get you your dream job.

I can remember once, when I was home sick with the cold to end all colds, not in any shape to seriously concentrate on anything of value, that I signed up for a webinar on keywords. Laughter, so they say, is the best medicine, and I did feel better after watching the show. It featured a software package which, when you enter in your profession, all the keywords related to that profession appeared in order of importance. Pay the money, get the list, add the keywords, get the interview. And people probably fell for it.

To continue with that example, no mention was given about how to deal with the keywords in an actual interview. You wrote on your resume that you know XYZ. Tell us about your experience. What are you going to say, “I paid for access to an on-line service that said I should include that keyword on my resume, so I did. But I really don’t even know what it means. Is that a problem?”

But the good news is that there is a program you can use that is free. If used properly, it will guide you down the correct path to your next job. It will help you differentiate between the con artists and the knowledgeable professionals who can actually help you. It is so advanced that it cannot be hacked. It never runs out of space. It is constantly being updated.

So sign up for the service. Use it. Trust it. Rely upon it. It is the only endorsement I will make. And here it is.

The human brain.

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Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor. He has helped scores (thousands if you include attendees at his presentations) of people, including veterans, not only change jobs but, on occasion, change careers. Having successfully transitioned from academia to non-profits to the recruiting industry, he has been there and done that!

Bruce is a recognized authority on job search and career issues, having been quoted in over 700 articles, appearing in some 500 publications, across the United States and in more than 30 foreign countries. His posts on LinkedIn have been read over 330,000 times and have garnered national and international media attention, including television appearances on Fox Business Network and Headline News (CNN).

In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, he chairs their Entrepreneurs Network, hosts their weekly podcast – The Voice of Manhattan Business – and serves as an Ambassador.

An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website, www.hsstaffing.com, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies and to learn about his upcoming speaking engagements.

How to Reenter the Job Market

If President-elect Trump honors his commitments to repeal Obamacare and the tens of thousands of regulations passed by President Obama (at an annual cost of billions for businesses) the result should be the creation of a massive number of new jobs. Of course, this will not happen until Mr. Trump takes office and, even then, it will take time.

The sign that people believe him will be an increase in the civilian labor force participation rate which, as everyone now knows, is a far more important statistic than the unemployment rate, and which has not been this low since 1977/78. In other words, people who gave up looking for work will want to, once again, find employment. They will become confident that the economy is finally going to turn around.

The downside is that this means a lot of competition. Accordingly, if you are one of these individuals, here are some steps you should take now to get a leg up on your fellow job seekers.

Obtain what you lack

The most important thing you can do is get what you need. How do you know what you need? Look at job postings for positions in which you are interested. Note the qualifications. If most jobs require something you do not have, get it! Obviously you cannot get a college degree in three months, but you can learn new skills and become current in your profession. There are legitimate on-line courses available including: www.coursera.org, www.edx.org and www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses. Get educated! And if you need a specific certification, find a trade school. It does not matter if they are accredited. You need an education, not a piece of paper to hang on the wall.

Get noticed

Start writing posts on LinkedIn. The fact that you are reading this proves my point. But also utilize such services as Help a Reporter Out and BlogTalkRadio to build your brand. Put differently, what you are trying to do is to get recognized for your expertise so employers will come after you. If you happen to be in New York City on Wednesday, November 30, you can attend my talk on Building a Brand to Attract Employers at the Science, Industry and Business Library. Failing that, you can watch a video of a previous presentation I made on the same topic. It’s only slightly dated. If you follow my advice, with a little luck, not only will employers notice you, but you will be able to include “Media Citations” on your resume, as proof of your being a “recognized expert” in your field.

Prepare an employer-focused resume

Start working on a new resume. It’s not difficult to fill the unemployment gap which I am certain is of concern to you. Under “Work Experience” create a subsection, “Employment-Related Activities.” Include any courses you have taken, short-term work you undertook and, perhaps most importantly, your volunteer activities. You want to show that you have not been idle, that you are not the type of person who can sit around all day and watch television.

Most importantly, don’t start your resume with a professional summary where you engage in self-praise. No employer cares what you think about yourself. Employers want to be reassured that you can meet their needs, that you can solve their problems. Simply begin with a section titled “Selected Accomplishments.” List half a dozen bullet points highlighting relatively recent career successes. That’s what employers care about.

Network

Resume networking. Reach out to old friends and colleagues, even if you have lost touch. You have nothing about which to be embarrassed. Let everyone know that you are back on the job market. While the hope is that there will be plenty of jobs advertised, the competition for them will be great. As always, the simple truth is that the best jobs, and the majority of jobs, are not and will not be advertised. You will only find out about them through networking.

Don’t fall for scams

Once the job market picks up, those persons claiming to be job search experts will start coming out of the woodwork. Don’t fall for them! There are no shortcuts and if something sounds questionable, it probably is. If they tell you that they can get you on the television networks, make certain they are not talking about a mention in a silly press release that is picked up by the network affiliates and placed on their websites. You will be making a fool of yourself. The same is true if you engage the services of someone who tells you to eliminate the gap in your resume by creating a group on LinkedIn and presenting yourself as a “Founder.” You’ll just look silly.

Similarly, be cautious of so-called “professional resume writers.” Don’t pay for a fancy resume written by someone who simply fills in a template. Ask to see three examples of their resumes. If they begin with self-praise, don’t waste your money. Similarly, there is absolutely no need to hire someone to create your LinkedIn profile. Just cut and paste your resume. You don’t want any discrepancies between the two. And, of course, if you have it, add multimedia files. In any case, keep in mind how recruiters actually use LinkedIn.

Watch out for career counselors

If you feel the need for outside assistance, shop around. First, only hire a career counselor who has actually hired people. You don’t want an academic; you want a practitioner! In other words, you want someone who has “been there and done that,” not someone who has just read about it. Second, request a 15-minute free consultation. Take five minutes to explain to them your situation and then let them talk for the remaining 10. If everything they say is boilerplate, move on! If they have nothing negative to say, no real criticism, move on! Most importantly, do not pay an hourly rate. Only pay a flat fee and the service should continue, ideally, until you get your next job. Someone who charges an hourly rate is looking for a long-term relationship with you so that they can milk you for as much money as they can. You don’t want a relationship, you want a job! And since I just happen to be a career counselor myself I can say with complete authority, we are very boring people! You can find far more interesting souls with whom to have a relationship.

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Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor. He has helped scores (thousands if you include attendees at his presentations) of people, including veterans, not only change jobs but, on occasion, change careers. Having successfully transitioned from academia to non-profits to the recruiting industry, he has been there and done that!

Bruce is a recognized authority on job search and career issues, having been quoted in over 700 articles, appearing in some 500 publications, across the United States and in more than 30 foreign countries. His posts on LinkedIn have been read over 300,000 times and have garnered national and international media attention, including television appearances on Fox Business Network and Headline News (CNN).

In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, he chairs their Entrepreneurs Network, hosts their weekly podcast – The Voice of Manhattan Business – and serves as an Ambassador.

An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website, www.hsstaffing.com, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies and to learn about his upcoming speaking engagements.