This week’s expert Q&A is with Grant Cooper, President of Strategic Résumés®. He comes to us today to share his expertise on a very worthy topic, the importance of career assertiveness for women in the workplace.
Before we get into gender, what exactly are you referring to when you use the phrase “career assertiveness”?
In past years, searching for a job was similar to “Farming”… in which you prepare your soil (resumes, cover letters), plant your crops (post online or respond to ads), and wait for the harvest (accept interviews and job offers). In today’s super-competitive job market, Farming is ineffective. Instead, successful job seekers now use “Hunting” techniques in which they prepare their tools (resumes, online profiles, elevator pitches, portfolios), survey the terrain (research companies, network with associates, volunteer in targeted environments), and engage the hunt without waiting for an ad (directly contact department heads & decision makers, write blogs to gain attention, use LinkedIn to search for key players to network, pitch a new job description).
This seems to be a pretty hot topic as of late. Why do you think that is?
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Reports from the media tell us that a large number of job seekers are pursuing advanced degrees in hopes of finding better (or any) employment opportunities. Career expert Rosemary Hook shares the ups, downs, ins, and outs of this trend in today’s expert Q&A.
How common is this practice in reality, and why are job seekers taking this route?
When I worked for a university, I conducted an annual survey to ask adult learners why they were pursuing their degrees. The first question was, “Are you unemployed?” The first year I did the survey (2008), 15% answered “Yes” to being unemployed. Five years later, the response to that answer jumped to 30% — and that was in the great state of Texas which was boasting the lowest unemployment rate in the nation [at] 7%.
Going back to school is a viable alternative to unemployment because society respects the pursuit of education. Society does not respect those who are unemployed because deep down inside, in some hidden area of the brain, people believe a person was laid off “for a reason.” However, you can wash away the stigma of unemployment or at least gain some respectability by going back to school. As part of your “going back to school,” you can:
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Welcome back to Meme Monday! Each Monday we’ll share a meme that teaches you a job search or career lesson. Have a great idea for your own meme? Create one (we use quickmeme.com), then submit it to rachel[at]ziprecruiter[dot]com for a chance to be featured on our blog.
The meme: Schrute
The scenario: You’re inflexible. If it’s not in the job description, you won’t do it. This might mean refusing to work long or irregular hours when asked, or it might mean refusing to complete a task that you feel should be done by someone else.
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This week’s expert Q&A is with author and employment attorney Donna Ballman. Donna has practiced employee-side employment law in Florida for over 25 years. She comes to us today to share her expertise on a hot topic: how to handle inappropriate job application and interview questions during your job search.
First things first. Can you explain why it’s illegal to ask certain questions of job seekers?
There are no questions that are per se illegal. What I’d prefer to say is that certain questions are inappropriate. While you can’t sue just because you were asked a question, being asked an inappropriate question could be evidence of discrimination if you aren’t hired. Questions that are inappropriate are those that relate to legally-protected categories under the law. Questions that are about your age, sex, race, religion, national origin, disability or genetic information are almost always inappropriate because it is illegal to base a hiring decision on any of these categories. In some states, employers aren’t allowed to ask about arrests or convictions, and some prohibit inquiries about credit history. Even if the questions are allowed, excluding applicants based on arrests, convictions or credit history may have an adverse impact on minorities.
How common are illegal or inappropriate questions during job interviews and within job applications?
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